Unfortunately the characters within this novella suffer underwriting for the benefit of style and self-conscious minimalism. Critics have praised it for the 'power of what is unsaid', but I think this may be generous collaboration on the part of some readers, as only wafer thin outlines of characters are established. The main character, Kitty, who is supposed to amuse/bemuse/enchant/disgust is painfully idiosyncratic, a crude charicature of manic depression- leaving one to wonder how anyone could be obsessed with, rather than just plain annoyed, by her.
The atmosphere is tense but a tableau, as we are constantly reminded that we are reading a work of extended prose- none of the characters are fleshed out enough for us to really care who is to be the casualty of the impending tragedy/crisis that the consecutive awkward scenarios are obviously building up to.
This would have worked well as a short story, but doesn't have the meat for a satisfying longer read. The last chapter feels like a 'cop-out' that is not only tonally out of place, but discredits the author as having missed a trick by not having as Epitaph what we all wanted to eventually read: *that* poem. I'm sure Philosophy fans will insist that this is the beauty of it: does it matter what the poem was? Is it not just symbolic? Etc etc . Maybe in a short story, fair enough, but not in a novel/la. It was a final chance to show depth to the characters, and even, if necessary, assert a statement about loss, longing, passion and death that the book seems desperate to do but never commits to.