Marcus Speh on Tina Hyland

December 7, 2010

With Issue Ten still only a few days old, we’re starting to roll out some of our posts from contributors discussing their favorite piece from the same collection, preferably by a name they’ve not read before. Marcus Speh, who brought us both the English and German versions of La Pointe Courte, offers his thoughts:

‘Schrödinger Equation’ by Tina Hyland is the first piece I noticed when I opened Issue Ten this morning, probably because I once trained as a particle physicist. I half expected a literary sequel to the Sokal hoax, a naive abuse of quantum physics or cats.

Instead, ‘Schrödinger Equation’ is an amazing dialog between lovers, a dialog of great physicality that ground the action: ‘He threw one fast and hard.’ The man hurls (quasi-) scientific statements of increasing complexity across an invisible fence at the woman. The woman fights them off, playfully but firmly: ‘That is only nonsense, she said. Or the start of something awful.’ He keeps at it. Their intimacy deepens, culminating, paradoxically, in the actual mathematical wave equation by Schrödinger (most likely the first literary text to do so). There’s the silent thunder that accompanies a breakup, though it isn’t clear if they part for good when the narrator says, in the last line: ‘It is how we say goodbye.’

This touched me more than I can say on this dark late wintry afternoon, a time ripe with allusions like this wonderful text. It made me think of Musil, of the man without properties and the woman in the dunes, of the spacetime continuum, of the many ways to express love and lust, too: ‘Oh, sweet Jetsam, you’re soft.’”