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Three Recommendations

Three books I’ve been enjoying recently that you might want to take a look at.

Reconsolidation: Or, it’s the ghosts who will answer you is a lyric essay by Janice Lee, a little bit of John D’Agata, a little Roland Barthes. About the sudden death of the author’s mother, this book feels as though it’s a private letter being written to the reader, it’s just that immediate and striking. It’s passionate, but not melodramatic, very purposeful and effective in what it does. Here’s a review.

The Strangest by Michael Seidlinger is a contemporary take on Camus’s The Stranger. He takes us into the consciousness of a person so withdrawn that he must have some sort of social anxiety disorder; every bit as affectless as Camus’s stranger, his smartphone is his only lifeline of communication with people, even when they’re right on the subway with him. I like how the author constructs the protagonist’s consciousness, with the integration of social media being elegant and measured, and I particularly like a few pivotal scenes where what is happening is carefully elided by the author—it’s very effective. Here’s an excerpt.

Sebald’s Vision is the most recent entry in the genre of Sebald criticism, this one by Carol Jacobs. This is an academic text, but it avoids the traps of academic writing and is, in fact, quite well-written and with interesting takes on a sizable portion of Sebald’s body of work. There are real insights here for people who like Sebald, or the themes he covered. There’s a review of the book here, and you can have a look at it for yourself in Google preview.



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