Julia Ruth Prendergast


'Bygones'  takes an interest in the way that processes of association inform our experience of sexuality. As it unpicks fragments from the past, the narrative enacts a present that is infiltrated by the triggers and channels of remembering. A hen party sex quiz leads to memories of times bygone and yet omnipresent.

Annie's memories are triggered by verbal cues in the present - moments outside the square... bad eggs... quirky sex. Annie recalls experiences from the past - shower tiles, smooth and wet... fresh bleach... spider furballs in her throat. Through the interaction between past and present, the narrative contemplates the impact of formative sexual experiences. This contemplation takes place in the context of a first-person style of narration. This realm is necessarily idiosyncratic and "speech-like," riddled by Annie's ideological and epistemological outlook.

For Annie, past and present are connected via a web of associations. In this way, the remembering consciousness forms associations intuitively. The term similarity "does not mean to the subconscious what it means to conscious reasoning [...] the subconscious [...] considers similarity identical with identity" (Mavromatis 1987: 178). For Annie, the act of remembering is emotional and associative rather than logical.

Form and content merge as the narrative foregrounds processes of association. Signs in the surface content of the narrative are connected associatively - claustrophobic echoes and thick silence, bygone memories. This movement mimics the associative ties between present and past in Annie's consciousness.

Mavromatis, A. 1987. Hypnagogia. The Unique State of Consciousness Between Wakefulness and Sleep. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.


short story; fractured narrative; alterity

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