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Fiction Friendship

Out On The Plain

Out On The PlainFrankie FinnThe Women’s Press1984

Out On The Plain concerns the developing links between four women: Rebecca, a painter; Jane, a patient in a mental hospital; Helen, a university student; and Elsie, the woman who cleans her campus room. The women meet and come together, not so much in the physical world we know, but on the plain, a mysterious and unfamiliar landscape which first appears unfocussed, ‘without form and void’, and only gradually, as the bonds between the women strengthen, takes on colour and clarity. This new and fragile world is continually threatened by the interventions of Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith-god.

Frankie Finn breaks down the conventional barriers between author and characters, between the reader and the novel itself. An increasingly animated dialogue develops between the characters and the author, as she sits composing her manuscript aboard a houseboat on the Thames. They question her rights as author, the accuracy of her perceptions of them… and increasingly we, as readers, find ourselves called upon to participate, and even to take sides.