When I say “I’m fond of reading Rieko Matsura”, my professor frowns, though, she is one of my favourite novelists. She is a very feminist writer, but that is not the issue with which I attempt to deal here. Rather, her style of writing is well worth consideration. Reading pieces of her work when I come to be confused and cannot write anything, they always give to me a strong impression as if I read words through a transparent cellophane. Her style is my kind of thing indeed.
Seemingly, her style can be said flat, but it just pretends to be flat. In fact, anyone might recognise what Matsura wrote at a glance. Like Haruki Murakami, it’s easy to discern whether she wrote or not if you read texts carefully.
What she deals with mostly relates to sexuality, for instance, Sadomadochism, homosexuality and phallocentrism, all of which prevent us from saying loudly in public. But her novels are filled with a sense of purity which involves us in her stories. Of course, it does not mean that the issue of sexuality are sort of dirty. What I want to say is that “stickiness” entailed in writing of sexuality is completely effaced from her sentences. Normally, this is not a matter of narratives since, in general, a style of writing is related to a matter of rhetoric. However, in her case, it seems to me that it’s better to understand it along with a narrative subject.
Yoko Tawada remarks in Introduction of Natural Woman, one of the novels by Matsura, “as it is a labour so as to construct an elaborate field for lesbian intercourse, the edge of her sentence which cut off the eyes of a person ignoring it are thin and sharp”. Her indication is also appropriate to other Matsura’s novels. Her sentences were no doubt revised again and again before publication by herself, therefore, though they are plain, they have a lot of words which strike to the heart of problems and make readers attentive. These features are consonant with a structure of the novel — we can recognise this novel pretends to be something.
An Inverted Version is a strategic novel as such. In this story, two women narrators appear, who communicate with each other only by means of an exchange of manuscripts although they live together. We read their manuscripts alternatively. They sometimes write a short story, complain to the other and even something like a diary which shows us their remembrances (they are classmates in high school). They talk through these manuscript and seldom be together in the house.
Are they really writing or is it a monodrama by one of them? Or two liars might construct a fiction filled with lies — we can also draw conclusion that another objective narrator writes the novel and two narrators actually don’t exist. We don’t have any ideas to decide whether these are true or not.