Suture and Narrative: Deep Intersubjectivity in Fiction and Film by George Butte offers a new phenomenological understanding of how fiction and film narratives use particular techniques to create and represent the experience of community. Butte turns to the concept of suture from Lacanian film theory and to the work of Merleau-Ponty to contribute a deeper and broader approach to intersubjectivity for the field of narrative theory.
Butte’s approach allows for narratives that represent insight as well as blindness, love, and loss, locating these connections and disconnections in narratological techniques that capture the crisscrossing of perspectives, such as those in fiction’s free indirect discourse and in the oblique angle of film’s shot/reverse shot convention. Butte studies the implications of this chiasmus in the novels and film adaptations of later Henry James works, Barrie’s Peter Pan tales and film adaptations, and the films Silence of the Lambsand Nothing But a Man. Suture’s story in the twentieth century, according to Butte, is a story of the loss of immediacy and community. Yet in concluding this, Butte finds optimism in the Coen brothers’ Raising Arizona as well as in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson and Marc Webb’s film (500) Days of Summer.