...is something Miriam Toews refers to when she talks about a novel's structure. The novel's typical connective tissue is what she tried to do without when she wrote A Complicated Kindness. I read this in a feature on her and I heard it straight from her mouth at her session earlier this month at Talking Fresh in Regina. As I listened to her speak I recalled images of connective tissue. I wondered what would remain without this tissue. Would the remaining fragments have shape or would the reader be lost in their shapelessness? I was already part-way through A Complicated Kindness by that time, and I already knew the novel held together, that it had inherent shape (as mentioned in the discussion) even though she had dispensed with the usual conventions. I finished reading it earlier today and I've been thinking about it and her comments on connective tissue ever since. Even though Toews does without the obvious fibrous connective tissue, a plot for example, there is great resonance. It pulses through the novel, oxygenating the fragments. It, like blood, is connective tissue.
It's an excellent novel.