Fleur Talbot is a character whose very identity parallels the challenge she undertakes. She is an autobiographer, relating her life story in this novel, but she is also a novelist, one whose business is not the facts of life but the myths of fiction. This mixture of life and fiction is the challenge she faces when she agrees to edit the autobiographical works of others while she continues to create the fictional worlds in her novels. Whether it is life imitating art or art imitating life, Fleur’s identities and professions become indistinguishable, and Fleur delights in that lack of neatness. She reveals that delight in a sentence she repeats at the beginning and end of this novel, which is also Fleur’s autobiography: “How wonderful it feels to be an artist and a woman in the twentieth century.”
Because it is Fleur’s story, told by and about her, Loitering with Intent is really Fleur’s creation of herself, an act she accomplishes by telling of her many creative processes: writing novels, stealing manuscripts, exposing criminal behavior, and finally, writing her own self-portrait. Each of these processes is a game in itself, one which Fleur relates with apparent delight; beneath each of these games, however, lie serious questions which the narrator carefully interjects. She asks, for example, the classic question, “What is truth?” Her answer suggests the complexity of fact-finding and truth-telling for the novelist: “When people...
(The entire section is 466 words.)