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Elastic — Johanne Bille

Elastic — Johanne Bille

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When Alice is with Mathilde, her experience of the world shifts, as though Mathilde brings with her a force that charges everything around her: the park bench, the sticky linoleum floor of the supermarket, their interlocked hands, the buttons on a winter coat. But Mathilde is also mercurial and “perfectly” married to Alexander, and Alice is moving into a bigger flat with Simon who has just returned to her life. Alice’s precarious solution is to proceed into a quadrilateral relationship, impatient to define her own outline in the eyes of others.

Elastic is a novel about being a woman. About being a woman among other women, among men, and about being alone with one’s female body. Alice doesn’t like being a woman. She feels estranged from her own body, from her gender. At the same time, Elastic is also a modern love story. About Alice’s silenced yet stormy crush on the enigmatic Mathilde. A crush that has no place neither in Alice's relationship with Simon, in Mathilde’s marriage, or even in Alice herself.

Bille cleanly gleans the nebulous distinctions between love, sex and intimacy, exerting a softly fragmentary style that underpins Alice’s vacillations. She explores what it means to refuse settling – in a relationship, in society, and within oneself – and to want both love and community without being able to detach from the selfishness that brought us there in the first place.

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