Last Night at the Circle Cinema by Emily Franklin

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last night at the circle cinemaLast Night at the Circle Cinema by Emily Franklin
Carolrhoda LAB, 2015

Three seniors spend their last night before graduation in a disused movie theater, reflecting on their friendship and their futures.

Livvy, the unfortunately named Codman, and Bertucci have been friends since freshman year and will soon be going their separate ways. The narration is split between the three protagonists, though it can be hard to detect much difference in their voices, and it moves fluidly, sometimes confusingly, between the past and the present.

The two ambitious central metaphors are not entirely worked through: Having different versions of the same story is referenced by a fictional movie they’ve seen, The Rashomon Effect, but their perspective of events just doesn’t seem that different; there are also several mentions of Schrodinger’s cat, but the idea that something can be theoretically alive and dead at the same time is rather shoe-horned onto the narrative.

Despite these flaws, the characters are appealing, the concept of the novel is intriguing, and it packs quite an emotional punch by the end.

And it has a cat on the cover.

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