Girls Fall Down proposes that an awareness of how to one’s position in relation to the situation of others and other things—that is, the very ability to clearly map one’s place in relation to other, shifting people and things—also demands a self-understanding that a control over one’s environment (including how one presents oneself in it) is merely a fantasy. A person’s inability to always map out with certainty the city as it is encountered suggests, in Helwig’s book, a crisis of legibility that is inherent in the urban landscapes themselves. Helwig’s various networks—from assorted means of transportation to interpersonal human relationships—are fragile and fraught, to the extent that what we easily label as “the city,” despite its seemingly solid material forms (both alive and inert), is best understood as provisional: the confluence and convergence of its actors underscore both a place and a landscape that is constantly re-envisioned and is always makeshift.
Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.