Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nox by Anne Carson

Nox by Anne Carson is . . .

Well, therein lies the problem.  What this book "is" goes beyond anything I can formulate into words.

Carson gathers the ephemera of her brother's life into an accordion folded book, nicely boxed so that you can either flip the pages or pull the whole thing out and unfold the scroll of what she is trying to say.

How she says it . . . this is where the words begin to falter.  There are a few visual images that speak volumes.  Clippings from lexicologic texts that seem to be literally torn from the pages of academic texts.  Things are taped down or glued in place, wrinkled or neatly folded.  And scattered here and there are Carson's own poetic words, rhetorical questions interspersed with sparse memories of a brother who was barely known and now is gone forever.

Part scrapbook, part puzzle, the reader is left to find meaning without being given any answers.  At least no easy answers and in some ways this says so much more about relationships than anything else because as Carson tries to understand the how and why of her brother and her relationship to him she exposes the fragile quality of the threads the define family.

I would urgently recommend this book to anyone and everyone but I know and regret that most people will not read this with the same awe I experienced and might even question whether this is literature at all. It is.  Literature.  Brilliant.  Inspired.  Inspiring.

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