What’s Happening

February 3, 2021

On Jeanne Randolph’s My Claustrophobic Happiness

By Marisa Grizenko

The Capilano Review, February 3, 2021

In a scene reminiscent of Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, in which Mrs. Ramsay admires the artful composition of a fruit bowl, La Betty constructs her own mise-en-scène. Noting the beautiful colour produced when the rosy light of dawn graces her silver coffee tray, she makes adjustments to her room, “push[ing] one of her Osvaldo Borsani tables just a little closer to the window” to better appreciate the “evanescent marvel, silver plus pink.” Unlike Mrs. Ramsay, though, whose aesthetic pleasure is firmly grounded in her family’s domestic life, La Betty inhabits a world devoid of other people and largely of meaning itself; to La Betty, “superficiality is ecstasy.” And while she’s mastered the superficial life, she rarely gets the opportunity to fully enjoy it—busy as she is with near-constant spiritual combat. [Read the full review at The Capilano Review]


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