Djuana Barne’s Nightwood, is by her own admission, lacking something that the author cannot put her finger on. I agree that there are strengths and weaknesses, as sometimes I had difficulty to suss out all the meaning and experimentation she was playing with. From what I gathered, this story is about falling in love with someone that is toxic, and very probably, mentally ill. Robin is a difficult character to understand, but one of the best characterizations of her personality is, “She always lets her pets die. She is so fond of them, and then she neglects them, the way animals neglect themselves.” (Barnes 98) It is rough seeing Nora’s love for Robin being undervalued and care for Robin come to no avail. The final straw for me is when Robin ditches her for Jenny, who is physically abusive. Honestly, those two deserve each other. Unfortunately, Nora is unable to get over her love and continually suffers.
To my mind, the main weakness of the author’s story is the length. I feel like she could have done more to explain each of the three main women’s characters and actions. As it is I found Jenny and Robin a little flat, except for the signs of Robin’s mental illness. Also, some portions to me were too dialogue heavy for other characters that had no relevance to the plot, except for the driver. Experimental novels are fantastic if they work, but if they are lacking in some large way, it really effects the reader’s judgment of the greatness of the book.