I've had to read this a few times to really wrap my head around it and even now, I'm still not sure everything that is going on. It seems to be the purpose though, so I'm not too concerned about it, but if my interpretations are wrong in anyway because of said confusion, I'm sorry!
You're right! I do adore roman numerals and their use here is exceptional. The way you move backwards and forwards but still seamlessly weaving everything together is enviable. Actually, everything about this story is enviable. Your writing is something that I admire and well, I am SO jealous of the beauty in your words, your descriptions, everything is perfect.
I love the repetition between the parts, the reuse of the same sentences but in each section, they mean something different, they're interpreted in different ways depending on the situation in which it's read. It's fascinating how well you can do that. I think my favorite example of this is this: "Listen to me, Victoire. Listen to me. Listen, listen, listen ≠to me. Me alone." You love his voice.
And you think of how precious that love is, but then you read it in a different context, where he's demanding and it isn't about love, but about being property and being controlled. Then again with that idea, how she loves his voice and she wonders what it reminds her of and "then it hits her" and it reminds me of a book opening but then it hits her again, and it's really a book being thrown at her and he's hitting her. It gives you a deeper appreciation for the complexities of language, I think.
The repetition of her name too - the rhythm of your life in patterned breath - that's how I read it, like a heartbeat, the pulse of your story. It's got a certain rhythm to it that fits so well with the flow.
I'm not going to lie, when I first read it the pairing Victoire/Victoire, I was curious as to how you were going to write this and then as I started reading the story, it was definitely confusing. I wasn't sure at first if it was some sort of Narcissus complex? Like the "idea" behind her relationship was splintering; it was no longer idyllic or perfect and she was seeking that perfection in herself or something, so it was definitely a surprise when you realize there actually is two Victoires and then I remember lines like, "I'm always compared to you" and thinking it was Victoire shipped with herself, I could understand that comparison. So then I realize it's a different person completely, and it spins that sentence in a completely different direction. But you still bring that whole idea of the mirror-image and Victoire's Narcissus Complex when they're at the train station, and they both reach their hand out to grab the papers and it's like a mirror-image, you know?
I loved this line to describe them though to try and separate them: "She is an ode to lesser gods. You are the lyrics sung by battered angels."
I'm going to say that I think the narrator is Victoire Weasley, just because she was my original thought when I believed she was shipped with herself, but it seems to fit, I think. I don't know. I get this image in my mind of this beautiful, rich woman and another woman, slightly battered and bruised, and killing her husband to be with this woman who understands her better than we can imagine and loving her is as easy, like it was easy to love him, once. But there's no distinction between the two, you know? Like I can't say oh, this one is for sure Victoire Weasley and the other is Victoire Bertand and I think that is what makes the story as ambiguous as it is. It's deliciously confusing.
I think throughout the story we see how both the other Victoire and her husband's relationship affects her which contributes to the shifting of the meanings of the sentences. I love the ending. The idea of being with Victoire at the end, finally free, but then realizing that despite the fact that he's dead, she can't forget him and she remembers the times when she was in love with him and how perfect it was but then it wasn't perfect. I wonder how long it will take for this to splinter too.
I don't even know what else to say. This story is epic and slightly insane, very chaotic, that's for sure. It's easy to get lost in the words, in the constant repetition and the disorganized manner in which it's written (by the way, you have ii written twice, not sure if that's intentional?), but I think that's half the fun of reading something like this. It's meant to be confusing, and to make you think and I think if anyone else attempted this, I might have balked at the idea of reading it. But you, you have a definite gift with words and you make something so confusing into something brilliant and beautiful. I'm sorry for this disorganized review but I figured it suits a story such as this. Just, really beautifully done.
Thank you for asking me to review!
Author's Response: Thank you for reviewing, forsakenphoenix! I was a bit apprehensive about asking, since I've fangirled over some of your writing for ages, but this made my day! :D
Eeek, thank you! Honestly, there are a lot of possible interpretations to this and I think you did a stellar job, especially considering how intentionally confusing I tried to make this. I'm really thrilled you liked the wordplay; I know a lot of readers found it confusing and repetitive, but it really means a lot that you liked it. ^_^
You're the first person to catch the mirror image thing! I was wondering when somebody would point that out to me! It's a definite allusion to the Narcissus complex which I did hope people would pick up on, without actually being a Narcissus complex. It was an idea of both of them being the same kind of person without it being a literal interpretation.
Nice guess! I love that you said it was Victoire Weasley. :) And Victoire will never forget him or forgive him for all the things they went through together during the course of their marriage.
The ii section is intentional; both those sections are set in the same time-frame, probably within the space of just a few months. One is Victoire describing what it felt like to love Teddy. The second is Victoire and Teddy getting married.
Thank you so much for your thoughts! It wasn't disorganized at all! I loved reading your interpretation and thanks again for giving this story a chance!