[impassible] pages

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Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
Source: A Debut Author Imagines Herself Into Other Lives In 'Asymmetry'

<Asymmetry is a book whose title tells the tale: It's made up of two disparate stories with no apparent connection, and a third story that just hints at the link between the two.>

HALLIDAY [the author]: (Reading) They sat without speaking for a while, the man eating his ice cream and Alice pretending to read her book. Two joggers in a row gave them a second glance as they passed. Alice knew who he was. She'd known the moment he sat down, turning her cheeks watermelon pink. But in her astonishment, she could only continue staring like a studious little garden gnome at the impassible pages that lay open in her lap.
==
Hi everyone! Does "impassible" mean:

2.not susceptible to pain or injury
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Hi everyone! Does "impassible" mean: 2.not susceptible to pain or injury
    This is a rare word. In this sense I would understand it as "emotionless and impassive."

    OED: 3. Incapable of feeling or emotion; impassive, insensible, unimpressible (Edit: = without feeling; unable to have an emotion)

    1690 J. Norris Christian Blessedness 46 There are some Men of Rocky Hearts, and impassible Tempers, that could stand by and see the whole World in Flames without any concern.
    1852 Thackeray Henry Esmond II. ix. 156 He was impassible before victory, before danger, before defeat.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I would also wonder if it might not be a misspelling that was not caught for "impassable" - she's pretending to read, so the pages are "impassable" in that she can't get past them.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    In this sense I would understand it as "emotionless and impassive."

    OED: 3. Incapable of feeling or emotion; impassive, insensible, unimpressible (Edit: = without feeling; unable to have an emotion)

    I don't see how the PAGES would be described as without feeling or unable to have an emotion - they sound like HUMAN attributes or characteristics.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It's personification - the pages are giving no help to Alice - they are simply sitting there waiting to be read.

    Or, maybe

     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    She's not able to get through the pages; they're impassable. Examples:

    The inference here is, of course, that the river is not impassable in the summertime and that the Pimas irrigate principally from flood waters in the wintertime.

    He fails to realize that the ice adjoining this impassable strip is itself so nearly impassable, that no sharp line of demarkation between that which is impassable
    and that which is not can be drawn.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The quoted passage is what someone read aloud from the book over the radio, in an American accent. I found a source for the text of the novel, and it has "impassable":

    Asymmetry (Google Books, the relevant page is accessible where I am in Europe).

    The next sentence is "They might have been made of concrete".
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Do you think it's a misprint? - I'm not too sure.
    It's impossible to say, but it seems more likely that it's a misprint than that the author would deliberately use a confusing an obscure word like impassible (rather than, say, the more common impassive). Unless, of course, she was deliberately trying to be pretentious.
     
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