RaveVol. 1 Brooklyn... manages to be both morally serious and emotionally generous—lyrical yet unsentimental ... The novel’s masterful second section takes the form of Iggy’s diary kept in the days before his execution ... It’s an intense acceptance of death as death (and not just a minor speedbump on the highway to heaven) that allows Bible’s characters to really love life and even time, to enjoy the absurd and painful ride it takes us on. We can’t transcend anything or stop the ride but we can meet time’s two faces with our own, fixed in a grateful grin, savoring it all even if in spite. And it’s the line-by-line poetry here that makes life seem worthwhile even in its futility; the act of recording it redeems it; Bible’s artistry replaces the false promise of religion and turns time and its punishments into a sort of pleasure.
RaveFull StopLewis Hyde’s A Primer for Forgetting is like this: koans, digressions, clipped asides, a history of forgetting that forgets to be a book and is instead islands of text, a breezy archipelago ... Primer is by no means light. It’s a beautiful book that leaves most of the work to you. But that work doesn’t feel like work, it’s not a puzzle to be solved. It’s less Cy Twombly, more James Turrell ... The most beautiful passages here reflect on Hyde’s mother in the last years of her life battling dementia. As she forgets, you might say that we see dementia defeat her. But lovingly Hyde questions our assumption that dementia \'defeats\' ... Hyde, at 74, has penned a poignant goodbye to language, accomplishment, memory, and pride; he guides us to the end of information, which is gratitude for the amusing pastime of learning then a surrender to nothing.
RaveBarrelhouse\"Stylistically, Scanlan’s sentences are as clipped, elliptical, and lyrical as those in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. And I do consider them Scanlan’s sentences, though not hers alone. Some credit for the concision goes to the diarist herself ... Aug 9—Fog is brimming with the authentic boredom of actual life ... There’s an underlying gratitude throughout Aug 9—Fog: the diarist’s gratitude for D. and snow...and Scanlan’s gratitude for the accident of the diary’s acquisition. Like most sincere expressions of thanks, this novel is notable for its straight-shooting anti-sentimentality. The writing celebrates life without becoming self-indulgent; for all its praise of dismissable minutiae, Aug 9—Fog remains disciplined, and never enumerates life’s small pleasures in the hopes of fluffing up the page-count. It feels like Wittgenstein edited Knausgaard ... Aug 9—Fog is brilliant and ordinary, rife with life’s ordinary miracles and ordinary disasters, the sort of book you need to reread and want to memorize—a morsel you can savor forever, like how you wish life could be.