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.
Scanlan has created something truly unique ... stands as a radical celebration of the moment, the most intimate and personal, made universal. The opacity of its entries helps to convey unique meanings to each reader. For those that find the sentences resonant, the book serves as an artifact to return to over time, feel inspired by, or simply re-frame a way of thinking ... The writing style is sparse, more often than not grammatically incorrect, but deeply evocative in its minimalism ... The writing is poetic, so sparse to be abstract ... Scanlan’s work in curation, arrangement, and construction of the entries is marvelous. She’s managed to find the perfect balance between maintaining enough of a through-line to suggest continuity, while removing enough to give space for the reader’s imagination. It’s at once a work of addition and subtraction, a masterclass in composition ... nuance just below the surface only leads each page to stand stronger by itself, and as a whole. I suspect not everyone will fall in love with Aug 9 – Fog, but those that do will be discovering a book that lingers long after reading.
... short and sweet — to be read in one afternoon, then reread many afternoons over ... I was reminded of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead in the effortless way Scanlan glazes the mundane with meaning ... There are certain works of poetry or prose that carry such an irresistible mouthfeel that I have to whisper along with the words as I read them, and this book offers a perfect example. The abbreviated voice of the diary’s author does not elaborate for the sake of explanation or grammar, and begins to give the impression of a lovably stylized character. Her words are almost childlike in their simple colloquialism, proving irresistibly relatable ... Scanlan’s arrangement of the author’s words render a tender and human portrait of old age, relating daily experiences of illness, hobbies, care from family members, and loneliness. One of the book’s most salient themes is the physical body and the fragility of its health ... fascinating, particularly to young writers still making sense of form and genre, since Scanlan’s authorship is editorial: the words are not her own, and yet the book and its plot are her artistic creation. Her prose pursues an object of fascination and presents it with the language most fitting, regardless of convention.