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The New York Times-bestselling author of Find Me and Call Me by Your Name returns to the essay form with his collection of thoughts on time, the creative mind, and great lives and works Irrealis moods are a category of verbal moods that indicate that certain events have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there i The New York Times-bestselling author of Find Me and Call Me by Your Name returns to the essay form with his collection of thoughts on time, the creative mind, and great lives and works Irrealis moods are a category of verbal moods that indicate that certain events have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there is no indication that they will ever happen. Irrealis moods are also known as counterfactual moods and include the conditional, the subjunctive, the optative, and the imperative--all best expressed in this book as the might-be and the might-have-been. One of the great prose stylists of his generation, Andr� Aciman returns to the essay form in Homo Irrealis to explore what time means to artists who cannot grasp life in the present. Irrealis moods are not about the present or the past or the future; they are about what might have been but never was but could in theory still happen. From meditations on subway poetry and the temporal resonances of an empty Italian street to considerations of the lives and work of Sigmund Freud, C. P. Cavafy, W. G. Sebald, John Sloan, �ric Rohmer, Marcel Proust, and Fernando Pessoa and portraits of cities such as Alexandria and St. Petersburg, Homo Irrealis is a deep reflection on the imagination's power to forge a zone outside of time's intractable hold.


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The New York Times-bestselling author of Find Me and Call Me by Your Name returns to the essay form with his collection of thoughts on time, the creative mind, and great lives and works Irrealis moods are a category of verbal moods that indicate that certain events have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there i The New York Times-bestselling author of Find Me and Call Me by Your Name returns to the essay form with his collection of thoughts on time, the creative mind, and great lives and works Irrealis moods are a category of verbal moods that indicate that certain events have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there is no indication that they will ever happen. Irrealis moods are also known as counterfactual moods and include the conditional, the subjunctive, the optative, and the imperative--all best expressed in this book as the might-be and the might-have-been. One of the great prose stylists of his generation, Andr� Aciman returns to the essay form in Homo Irrealis to explore what time means to artists who cannot grasp life in the present. Irrealis moods are not about the present or the past or the future; they are about what might have been but never was but could in theory still happen. From meditations on subway poetry and the temporal resonances of an empty Italian street to considerations of the lives and work of Sigmund Freud, C. P. Cavafy, W. G. Sebald, John Sloan, �ric Rohmer, Marcel Proust, and Fernando Pessoa and portraits of cities such as Alexandria and St. Petersburg, Homo Irrealis is a deep reflection on the imagination's power to forge a zone outside of time's intractable hold.

30 review for Homo Irrealis: Essays

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Irrealism is a term that has been used by various writers in the fields of philosophy, literature, and art to denote specific modes of unreality and/or the problems in concretely defining reality. These essays were quite literary and covered the range of art, literature, cinema and memoir. Place and time. Enjoyed some, some I felt lost in, like I was being consumed by the irrealis. His life in Egypt, France walking through Rome, St Petersburg. Enjoyed the part on Sebald and enjoyed the authors ent Irrealism is a term that has been used by various writers in the fields of philosophy, literature, and art to denote specific modes of unreality and/or the problems in concretely defining reality. These essays were quite literary and covered the range of art, literature, cinema and memoir. Place and time. Enjoyed some, some I felt lost in, like I was being consumed by the irrealis. His life in Egypt, France walking through Rome, St Petersburg. Enjoyed the part on Sebald and enjoyed the authors enthusiasm for each subject whether a painting, a poem, watching a movie in the cinema. I took this slow, there is much to consume, ponder. A mixed read for me but an interesting one. ARC from Netgalley

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gerhard

    Well, André Aciman’s latest essay collection is certainly more intellectually bracing than his fiction, especially the rather tepid ‘Find Me’. Whether or not this will appeal to the average reader of ‘Call Me By Your Name’ remains to be seen. ‘Homo Irrealis’ is a play on the linguistics term ‘irrealis’, which Aciman defines as per its Wikipedia entry, “because the Oxford English Dictionary does not house the word.” He explains that “the irrealis mood knows no boundaries between what is and what i Well, André Aciman’s latest essay collection is certainly more intellectually bracing than his fiction, especially the rather tepid ‘Find Me’. Whether or not this will appeal to the average reader of ‘Call Me By Your Name’ remains to be seen. ‘Homo Irrealis’ is a play on the linguistics term ‘irrealis’, which Aciman defines as per its Wikipedia entry, “because the Oxford English Dictionary does not house the word.” He explains that “the irrealis mood knows no boundaries between what is and what isn’t, between what happened and what won’t.” As an example, Aciman references his ‘many worlds’ immigrant experience: What happened to the person I was actually working on becoming but didn’t know I was about to become, because one never quite knows that one is indeed working on becoming anyone? If this sounds far more complicated than it should be, Aciman does relax a bit as the essays progress. Probably the best is the candid ‘In Freud’s Shadow, Part 2’, where he recounts as a schoolboy frequenting a large remainders bookstore on the Piazza di San Silvestro in Rome, ferreting out a copy of ‘Psychopathia Sexualis’ by Richard von Krafft-Ebing. One would think that haunting bookshops to get a glimpse of salacious reading is practically a guarantee of sexual dysfunction later in life. Well, some critics have frowned at the age difference in ‘Call Me By Your Name’, as well as at the old man/young woman section in ‘Find Me’. However, is this a surefire indication of pathology, or just wishful thinking on the part of cancel culture? One afternoon after leaving the bookstore, Aciman as a schoolboy takes the 85 bus. This is crowded, which results in a young man being pushed up against him from behind and grabbing his upper arms as well to steady himself. The encounter is almost unbearably erotic to the lonely Aciman, and becomes a mental lacuna that he spends his entire life excavating and refilling, like sand in an hourglass: Now, whenever I come to Rome, I promise to take the 85 bus at more or less the same time in the evening to try to turn the clock back to relive that evening and see who I was and what I craved in those days. That is the ‘irrealis mood’ at its most plangent. If you think this is an early indication of homosexual tendencies in Aciman, the reality is far more complicated. He subsumes his erotic fantasies of the young man on the 85 bus with his lustful pining after Gina, who “smelled of incense and chamomile, of ancient wooden drawers and unwashed hair…” This results in a kind of polymorphous frenzy that must have driven the young Aciman wild with unrequited desire: Night after night, I would drift from him to her, back to him and then her, each feeding off the other and, like Roman buildings of all ages snuggling into, on top of, under, and against each other, body parts stripped from his body were given over to hers and then back to his with body parts from hers. One wonders how encounters such as these must have fed into Aciman’s literary imagination, becoming grist for novels like ‘Call Me By Your Name’, which is practically brimming over with the irrealis mood. I am also reminded of ‘The Motion of Light in Water’, wherein Samuel R. Delany writes powerfully about the refractive effect of memory. Aciman certainly can’t quite summon the same playful, transgressive and libidinous tone of Delany in full linguistic flight. Indeed, there is something almost strained about ‘In Freud’s Shadow, Part 2’. The author is on far more familiar ground when he waxes lyrical about art, cities and famous writers. This seems to give him the necessary distance in which to examine both his thoughts and desires with the necessary dispassion. An example is Aciman’s postcard of the Apollo Sauroktonos statue in the Vatican Museum, which is like a message from a younger to an older self: All I had at home was my picture of the Sauroktonos. Chaste and chastening, the ultimate androgyne, obscene because he lets you cradle the filthiest thoughts but won’t approve or consent to them and makes you feel dirty for even nursing them. The picture was the next best thing to the young man on the bus. I treasured it and used it as a bookmark.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Soula Kosti

    I would give this 4.5 stars just because some essays I enjoyed more than others, but I'm overall thankful for having encountered this book that gave a voice to some inner thoughts. In retrospection, "I have always felt as if I had no place in reality, as if I were not there at all." And if you've ever felt the same, you should read this book. In this essay collection, André Aciman uses various forms of art - cinema, literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture - to examine the concept of I would give this 4.5 stars just because some essays I enjoyed more than others, but I'm overall thankful for having encountered this book that gave a voice to some inner thoughts. In retrospection, "I have always felt as if I had no place in reality, as if I were not there at all." And if you've ever felt the same, you should read this book. In this essay collection, André Aciman uses various forms of art - cinema, literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture - to examine the concept of the irrealis mood. Here are two attempts to explain the irrealis mood by using the author's words: 1) "It's not about what did not, will not occur, but about what could still but might never occur" and 2) "might-have-beens that haven't really happened but aren't unreal for not happening and might still happen, though we hope - and fear - they both will and never will happen." This book reads as the midnight thoughts that creep in our minds uninvited, making us question everything - our place in the world, our path, our interpretation of our life, the concept of time. "If time exists at all, it operates on several planes simultaneously, where foresight and hindsight, prospection and retrospection are continuously coincident," explains Aciman. As humans we often wonder if we live the life we should, if we took the right path. "So many of us don't really belong here - not in the present, or the past, or the future - but all of us seek a life that exists elsewhere in time, or elsewhere on-screen, and that, not being able to find it, we have all learned to make do with what life throws are way." But even though we make do with what we have, we never really forget the life we imagined we should have. "The life we're still owed and cannot live transcends and outlasts everything, because it is part yearned for, part remembered, and part imagined, and it cannot die and it cannot go away because it never, ever really was." This book will also make you consider how much time alters memories. "Whatever it is I am trying to preserve may not be entirely real, but it isn't altogether false." That in actuality "we remember best what never happened" and that "the feelings that hurt the most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd: the longing for the impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else, dissatisfaction with the world's existence."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bagus

    This collection of essays by André Aciman is highly intriguing that I spent my entire weekend digesting his thoughts of the irrealis form of thinking that most of us possess, and sometimes we express unconsciously. In linguistics, “irrealis” moods are the set of grammatical moods that indicate that something is not actually the case or that a certain situation or action is not known to have happened at the moment the speaker is talking. (Loc. 45) What the author transcribes as irrealis is how This collection of essays by André Aciman is highly intriguing that I spent my entire weekend digesting his thoughts of the irrealis form of thinking that most of us possess, and sometimes we express unconsciously. In linguistics, “irrealis” moods are the set of grammatical moods that indicate that something is not actually the case or that a certain situation or action is not known to have happened at the moment the speaker is talking. (Loc. 45) What the author transcribes as irrealis is how we often think in the form of “what should we have done” and the kind of longing for the alternate universe that might accompany us were we put that choice up instead of the choice that we finally ended up making. There are many ways irrealis moods could influence us, and it’s the author’s gift for having lived in various places around the globe, reading many classical books, as well as watching countless films that enable this thought to transpire in him. It all begins in his quest of searching for the real Alexandria, the place which rejected him due to his Jewish heritage, and the fact that he longed for that Alexandria which never was by the time he moved to Rome. The irrealis mood knows no boundaries between what is and what isn’t, between what happened and what won’t. In more ways than one, the essays about the artists, writers, and great minds gathered in this volume may have nothing to do with who I am, or who they were, and my reading of them may be entirely erroneous. But I misread them the better to read myself. (Loc. 130) From the start of the volume, the author has warned the readers about the implications of reading through the lens of irrealis mood. What we call reality, experience, or senses, they might as well disappear in face of the irrealis mood. And there’s no better way to get in touch with irrealis mood besides facing it inside works of art. In this volume besides from his own personal experiences, the author also provides us to the irrealis mood that he "thinks” present inside Freud’s sojourn to Rome, three French New Wave films directed by Eric Rohmer (My Night at Maud’s, Claire’s Knee and Chloe in the Afternoon), paintings by the Impressionists, as well as Proust’s novel. His reading through those works never failed to impress me on how the irrealis mood is pretty much present in many art forms. By the time I reached the last essay, it gives me an impression that we as humans have never truly lived in the present. There are many ways we reject reality by thinking of “what could possibly happen if…” and present ourselves with so many alternative cases. And that’s why we ended up inventing words such as 'remorse' and 'regret' to cope up with the daunting irrealis mood. Much more so, André Aciman uses many of his personal experiences that seem at times coherent with my own in the way that I interpret them as so. Perhaps we all have become slaves to probability. This volume will be really engaging if you are a fan of art and literary essays, and have a general understanding of New Wave French cinema which occupies almost half of the volume. Through this volume, the author takes me into a journey to see that our lives might have been guided through so many random occurrences and serendipities more than what we realise. === I received the Advance Reader Copy from Farrar, Straus and Giroux through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aida ☾

    i don't know how i feel about this. some of the essays made me feel stupid, but andré aciman's style is very pretty. i enjoyed reading it even if i barely understood anything. i don't know how i feel about this. some of the essays made me feel stupid, but andré aciman's style is very pretty. i enjoyed reading it even if i barely understood anything.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    "I like the ambiguity, I like the fluidity between hard fact and speculation, and I may like interpretation more than action, which might explain why I prefer a psychological novel to a straight-forward page turner." Andre Aciman's Homo Irrealis gives beautiful insight's into a great writer's mind. In his essays he talks about Irrealis moods, moods around events that "have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there is no indication that "I like the ambiguity, I like the fluidity between hard fact and speculation, and I may like interpretation more than action, which might explain why I prefer a psychological novel to a straight-forward page turner." Andre Aciman's Homo Irrealis gives beautiful insight's into a great writer's mind. In his essays he talks about Irrealis moods, moods around events that "have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there is no indication that they will ever happen." Especially in the times we're currently living in I found the description of these moods that many of us have experienced at some point in our lives but might not have been able to verbalise enormously touching. Aciman's writing is as beautiful as ever, and if anything this collection of essays has provided subtext to his novels, provided a deeper understanding of his writing, explained the sense of longing that is so evident in many of them, and made me want to re-read his work again. Aciman, for me, is one of those rare authors that touch me to the core, and isn't it the most beautiful thing to find an author like that. As he puts it himself: "All great art invariably lets us say the same thing: This was really about me."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grace W

    (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) I can't tell if it is the themes of this book that I don't like or if it is the writing or the fact that I cannot handle this much serious reflection on Freud, a man I dislike with a deep intensity. It's a shame because the introduction had me really interested but the essays themselves didn't hit at all. They could have, the bones were there, but somehow none of them worked as well as I sort of hoped they would. Instead I was either bored or annoyed or both (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) I can't tell if it is the themes of this book that I don't like or if it is the writing or the fact that I cannot handle this much serious reflection on Freud, a man I dislike with a deep intensity. It's a shame because the introduction had me really interested but the essays themselves didn't hit at all. They could have, the bones were there, but somehow none of them worked as well as I sort of hoped they would. Instead I was either bored or annoyed or both. I think at this point Call Me By Your Name is easily this authors best work. I don't know why the rest of his works don't hit except maybe there is an almost aggressive intellectualism if that makes sense. There is an idea that the reader understands everything the author is referencing and knows all the historical and cultural beats. I remember in Find Me being annoyed that he would use other languages as if the readers all speak Italian and French. There is a "if you don't get it you shouldn't be reading this" vibe to his later work that doesn't sit with me. I don't know how much more of a try I'm gonna give this author. Which is a shame because his prose can be extremely lovely.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Merve Yazicioglu

    Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for allowing me to read this book. Homo Irrealis is a collection of essays written by André Irrealis. These essays are surrounded by the irrealis moods “a certain situation or action is not known to have happened at the moment the speaker is talking”. In this collection, Aciman explores the themes of time and the hypothetical situation in which everything exists and does not all together regardless of what happens and did happen. Throughout this Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for allowing me to read this book. Homo Irrealis is a collection of essays written by André Irrealis. These essays are surrounded by the irrealis moods “a certain situation or action is not known to have happened at the moment the speaker is talking”. In this collection, Aciman explores the themes of time and the hypothetical situation in which everything exists and does not all together regardless of what happens and did happen. Throughout this collection, the theme of exile emerges from the mind of Aciman regardless of what topic the author focuses on. There seems to be a place in which the author is stuck between the realities or perhaps yearning for a reality that has never happened or might have happened. This resembles being an exile, immigrant, and migrant; being stuck between worlds yearning for the past but also the future. Nostalgia is a major part of a migrant’s identity: the inexplainable yearning for a home and past, that is no longer available to the exile: “Perhaps I wanted the scene to exist outside of time, with no real indication of where, when, or in which decade the picture was taken”. It is not longing for that specific period of time, country, or place, it merely is longing for something that does not exist within time or space. Moving from place to place forms an identity that no longer belongs to the person. There is not just one identity anymore but multiple ones serving for adaptability. Now in that subject, alienation comes to mind to explain why one person seeks another identity or a new country. It has multiple answers but in a general sense the difficulties of a providing better opportunities for certain living style pushes its citizen out or those people are pushed out of their country in horrible circumstances. As it is in case here, André Aciman did not feel welcomed in Egypt due to his family being Sephardic Jews. Therefore, once being alienated it is easy to fantasise for a new reality, that may or may not be real. It is explained so well by Aciman in this quotation: "But once in France I soon realized that France was not the friendly and welcoming France I had dreamed of in Egypt. That particular France had been, after all, merely a myth that allowed us to live with the loss of Egypt. Yet, three years later, once I left France and moved to the Unites States, the old, imagined, dreamed-of France suddenly rose up from its ashes, and nowadays, as an American citizen living in New York, I look back and catch myself longing once more for a France that never existed and couldn’t exist but is still out there, somewhere in the transit between Alexandria and Paris and New York, though I can’t quite put my finger on its location, because it has no location. It is a fantasy France, and fantasies—anticipated, imagined, or remembered—don’t necessarily disappear simply because they are unreal." Homo Irrealis had a personal touch for me as I have had similar experiences of being in a transcendental position, being in between two worlds. Yearning for a home or the past life, that is never existent in reality as we know it. But it exist beyond our mind and time, it stands still in a place, where we can only reach in our mind. When you leave a place, it will never be the same when you get back to it. Just like it is for Giovanni in Giovanni’s Room and Raif Efendi in Madonna in a Fur Coat: they yearn for the past but also the future in present time but they only exist in their minds.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Aciman's writing has rescued me on several occassions, but this was not it. It's not so much the language but the content. These essays are of great personal significance to Aciman (Jewish diaspora, immigration, displacement, feeling of belonging), but it is so meticulously anecdotal that it didn't hold any appeal to me. Yes, I am selfish in that I am only able to immerse in writing I can "relate" to. Or at least have a "general message" (of greater political/social impact) so I can marvel to so Aciman's writing has rescued me on several occassions, but this was not it. It's not so much the language but the content. These essays are of great personal significance to Aciman (Jewish diaspora, immigration, displacement, feeling of belonging), but it is so meticulously anecdotal that it didn't hold any appeal to me. Yes, I am selfish in that I am only able to immerse in writing I can "relate" to. Or at least have a "general message" (of greater political/social impact) so I can marvel to someone "did you know that ?...." I am glad, at least, that Aciman is still writing. His style and narrative remain one of my favorites of 21st century fiction authors. I look forward to more contemporary fiction by him.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Sark

    p.8 – Irrealis moods are a category of verbal moods that indicate that certain events have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there is no indication that they will ever happen. Irrealis moods are also known as counterfactual moods and include the conditional, the subjunctive, the optative, and the imperative—all best expressed in this book as the might-be and the might-have-been. Introduction p.9 – It’s almost as though these four sente p.8 – Irrealis moods are a category of verbal moods that indicate that certain events have not happened, may never happen, or should or must or are indeed desired to happen, but for which there is no indication that they will ever happen. Irrealis moods are also known as counterfactual moods and include the conditional, the subjunctive, the optative, and the imperative—all best expressed in this book as the might-be and the might-have-been. Introduction p.9 – It’s almost as though these four sentences don’t want me, their author, to know what I was trying to say with them. I gave them the words, but their meaning doesn’t belong to me. I wrote them when attempting to understand what lay at the source of that strange strain of nostalgia hovering over almost everything I’ve written. Because I was born in Egypt and, like so many Jews living in Egypt, was expelled, at the age of fourteen, it seemed natural that my nostalgia should have roots in Egypt. The trouble is that as an adolescent living in Egypt in what had become an anti-Semitic police state, I grew to hate Egypt and couldn’t wait to leave and land in Europe, preferably in France, since my mother tongue was French and our family was strongly attached to what we believed was our French culture. Ironically, however, letters from friends and relatives who had already settled abroad kept reminding those of us who continued to expect to leave Alexandria in the near future that the worst thing about France or Italy or England or Switzerland was that everyone who had left Egypt suffered terrible pangs of nostalgia for their birthplace, which had been their home once but was clearly no longer their homeland. Those of us who still lived in Alexandria expected to be afflicted with nostalgia, and if we spoke about our anticipated nostalgia frequently enough, it was perhaps because evoking this looming nostalgia was our way of immunizing ourselves against it before it sprang on us in Europe. We practiced nostalgia, looking for things and places that would unavoidably remind us of the Alexandria we were about to lose. We were, in a sense, already incubating nostalgia for a place some of us, particularly the young, did not love and couldn’t wait to leave behind. p.10 – But once in France I soon realized that it was not the friendly and welcoming France I had dreamed of in Egypt. That particular France had been, after all, merely a myth that allowed us to live with the loss of Egypt. Yet, three years later, once I left France and moved to the United States, the old, imagined, dreamed-of France suddenly rose up from its ashes, and nowadays, as an American citizen living in New York, I look back and catch myself longing once more for a France that never existed and couldn’t exist but is still out there, somewhere in the transit between Alexandria and Paris and New York, though I can’t quite put my finger on its location, because it has no location. It is a fantasy France, and fantasies—anticipated, imagined, or remembered—don’t necessarily disappear simply because they are unreal. One can, in fact, coddle one’s fantasies, though recollected fantasies are no less lodged in the past than are events that truly happened in that past. The only Alexandria I seemed to care about was the one I believed my father and grandparents had known. It was a sepia-toned city, and it stirred my imagination with memories that couldn’t have been mine but that harked back to a time when the city I was losing forever was home to many in my family. I longed for this old Alexandria of two generations before mine, knowing that it had probably never existed the way I pictured it, while the Alexandria that I knew was, well, just real. If only I could travel from our time zone to the other bank and recover this Alexandria that seemed to have existed once. I was, in more ways than one, already homesick for Alexandria in Alexandria. p.11 – Today I don’t know if I miss Alexandria at all. I may miss my grandmother’s apartment, where everyone in the family spent weeks packing and talking about our eventual move to Rome and then Paris, where most members of the family had already settled. I remember the arrival of suitcases, and more suitcases, and many more suitcases still, all piling up in one of the large living rooms. When I look back to my last months in Alexandria, what I long for is not Alexandria; what I long for when I look back is to revisit that moment when, as an adolescent stuck in Egypt, I dreamed of another life across the Mediterranean and was persuaded its name was France. That moment happened when, on a warm spring day in Alexandria with our windows open, my aunt and I leaned on the sill and stared out at the sea, and she said that the view reminded her of her home in Paris where, if you leaned out a bit from her window, you’d catch a view of the Seine. Yes, I was in Alexandria at that moment, but everything about me was already in Paris, staring at a slice of the Seine. p.12 – But here is the surprise. I didn’t just dream of Paris at the time; I dreamed of a Paris where, on a not so distant day, I would stand watching the Seine and nostalgically recall that evening in Alexandria where, with my aunt, I had imagined the Seine. So here are the four sentences that have been giving me so much trouble: When I remember Alexandria, it’s not only Alexandria I remember. When I remember Alexandria, I remember a place from which I liked to imagine being already elsewhere. To remember Alexandria without remembering myself longing for Paris in Alexandria is to remember wrongly. Being in Egypt was an endless process of pretending I was already out of Egypt. p.13 – Irrealis moods know no boundaries between what is and what isn’t, between what happened and what won’t. In more ways than one, the essays about the artists, writers, and great minds gathered in this volume may have nothing to do with who I am, or who they were, and my reading of them may be entirely erroneous. But I misread them the better to read myself. A picture that my father took of me is my last picture in Egypt. I was scarcely fourteen. In the picture I am squinting and trying to keep my eyes open—the sun is in my face—and I’m smiling rather self-consciously, because my father is chiding me and telling me to stand up straight for once, while all I’m probably thinking is that I hate this desert oasis about twenty miles from Alexandria and can’t wait to be back and heading to the movies. I must have known that this was the last time I’d ever see this oasis in my life. There is no other picture of me in Egypt after this one. To me it represents the last instance of who I was two to three weeks before leaving Egypt. p.14 – I want to ask him who of us two is real, and who is not. But I know what his answer will be. Neither of us is. Evenings with Rohmer, Maud; or Philosophy in the Boudoir p.94 – His film was classical. It didn’t care about the way things are, about reality, about the here and now, about urban blight, the war in Vietnam, World War II, or about what everyone else was busy filming in the late sixties; it was beholden to and chastened by a higher principle: classicism. A short film where nothing happens and where mind is the plot. This was totally new. I was enchanted. It had never occurred to me until that moment that classicism had never died and that art itself, which is the highest mankind can aspire to, might indeed be just a bubble, but that what’s inside this bubble and what we learn from walking through it is better than life. Adrift in Sunlit Night p.122 – Everyone has an imagined St. Petersburg. Everyone’s life took a sudden turn because of books set in St. Petersburg. p.123 – Dostoyevsky’s was certainly not the city that Peter the Great envisioned when he wrenched it out of the mud off the Neva River in 1703. From literally nothing he created one of Europe’s most stunning cities and made it the capital of Russia, which it remained until the fall of the Romanovs two centuries later in 1917. To build this new port city on the Gulf of Finland, Peter forcibly put Swedish prisoners of war and Russian serfs to work day and night. More than one hundred thousand of them paid with their lives as they pounded piles into the slosh and drained the bogs and carried stones with their bare hands, leaving nothing but their bones underfoot. Peter couldn’t be bothered with their deaths. He had big plans. Inspired by Amsterdam and Venice, his city was going to be crisscrossed by canals, but it was also going to outdo Paris and London in splendor and magnificence. To this end, Peter forced all Russian aristocrats to build homes in St. Petersburg—and if they demurred, he’d haul them there by force. The streets were going to be wider and longer and far better planned than any in Paris, with one stately home after the other lining the lavish avenues and canal embankments, each building rising to the same height as its neighbors. p.124 – Still, Peter was so barbaric in his mission to civilize Russians that he also managed to create an entire naval fleet the way he’d created the city: from nothing. In the end, and by dint of ruthless, despotic will, Russia was dragged by the scruff of its neck into the modern world, after which there was no turning back. p.125 – I came to St. Petersburg to stroll on Nevsky Prospect. Then as now, one strolls or one drifts along; one shops or stops for a meal or to drink coffee somewhere. The avenue is named after Prince Alexander, who was given the name Nevsky after defeating the Swedes at the Battle of the Neva in 1240. Here the rich and the wannabes ambled up and down, to see and be seen, in all seasons and all garbs. Here, also, people always heard French and English spoken and came to purchase the most luxurious wares from all parts of Europe. Elsewhere On-screen p.136 – The year was 1984—late fall of 1984. I was single at the time, living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and had been dropped by my girlfriend a couple of months earlier. I had no money, not much of a job, and my career prospects were decidedly grim. So one Saturday, with nothing to do, no friends, nothing planned, and no desire to stay home, I went out for a walk down Broadway just to experience a Saturday evening lost in the crowd. At Eighty-First street, I stepped into what was then the only Shakespeare & Co. bookstore in Manhattan and was idly leafing through various books, envying couples who, like me, had wandered into the store. p.137 – When we reached the Regency Theatre on Broadway and Sixty-Eighth Street, I saw that The Apartment was playing. My decision was instantaneous. As for her, who knows why she consented—because I coaxed her into joining me or because she had nothing better to do that night. I’ll never know, nor did I ask. I loved the Regency, where old double-feature films were still being played, frequently to a full house, and I loved the shape of the theater itself, which wasn’t rectangular but circular. There was a sense of intimate coziness inside, in good part because one felt in the company of people who shared a love for vintage films, which is perhaps nothing more than a love for things that endure despite their age. Later that night, I walked Maggie home, and we said goodbye in her lobby. p.138 – A new Manhattan was creeping into existence. The very store where I’d bought my first pair of American sneakers had disappeared, gone as well the Syrian bodega where cigarettes were cheaper than anywhere else in the city, and the numberless Botanica incense stores on Amsterdam Avenue—vanished, each one. p.139 – I was living in a city that held no loyalty to its past and was so hastily slipping into the future that it made me feel behind the times, and, like a debtor who can’t manage his loan payments, I was perpetually in arrears. New York was disappearing before my eyes: The Regency was gone in 1987, and the Rialto was brutally demolished in 2013. How could I belong there when I couldn’t find a personal landmark anywhere except on the silver screen of a theater that itself would never even achieve landmark status? Sometimes even the past, real or imagined, can be taken from us, and all we’re left holding on a cold night in late fall is our raincoat. p.140 – And it hit me then that one of the reasons why some people cling to what has vintage status is not because they like things old or marginally dated, which allows them to feel that their personal time and vintage time are magically in sync; rather, it’s because the word vintage is just a figure of speech, a metaphor for saying that so many of us don’t really belong here—not in the present, or the past, or the future—but that all of us seek a life that exists elsewhere in time, or elsewhere on-screen, and that, not being able to find it, we have all learned to make do with what life throws our way. late that Sunday evening I went to see The Apartment again. The film was about me. All great art invariably lets us say the same thing: This was really about me. And this, in most cases, is not only a consolation, it’s an uplifting revelation that reminds us that we are not alone, that others are like us too. I couldn’t have asked for more. Then I went on the same pilgrimage as the night before. Swann’s Kiss p.141 – I used to think that if the dominant principle in Machiavelli’s work was acquisition—how to acquire power, land, loyalty and, once acquired, how to keep them—for Proust it was possession—the desire, the compulsion to possess, to retain, to hoard, to hold, to have. I am not so sure now. Today I feel it is wanting that is so central to Proust—or, more precisely, yearning and longing. Yearning, as The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines it, is “a persistent, often wistful or melancholy desire.” Longing, on the other hand, is “an earnest, heartfelt desire, especially for something beyond reach.” But someone once suggested a far more subtle difference between the two: one longs for something in the future; one yearns for something in the past. Unfinished Thoughts on Fernando Pessoa p.167 – I am looking at a picture of myself at age fourteen. I am standing in the sun. I have a sense that a big change is about to occur in my family’s life, but I have no idea what the future holds—where will I be? who will I be? what hardships lie ahead? But today I envy the boy in the photograph. He is young, and there are many discoveries and joys ahead of him, especially those of the body, whose pleasures he seems to know nothing of yet. But there are also sorrows and defeats awaiting, and, worse yet, there will always be that swamp of boredom whose shores he’ll grow to know and even find comfort in when things fall apart. Perhaps he already knows—though I can’t be sure he does—that one day he’ll want to look back at the time when this photo was taken. Perhaps he is already rehearsing a ritual that may not quite be in place yet.

  11. 5 out of 5

    GONZA

    I like Aciman's books ALMOST as much as I like this collection of short essays, in which the author describes some cities (including Rome and Alexandria), the director Rohmer and other famous poets and books, which gave me the opportunity to extend my already endless list of books to read. Unfortunately, in some cases, I found the chapters a bit repetitive, so I recommend not reading the whole book in a row. I libri di Aciman mi piacciono quasi quanto questa raccolta di brevi saggi, in cui l'auto I like Aciman's books ALMOST as much as I like this collection of short essays, in which the author describes some cities (including Rome and Alexandria), the director Rohmer and other famous poets and books, which gave me the opportunity to extend my already endless list of books to read. Unfortunately, in some cases, I found the chapters a bit repetitive, so I recommend not reading the whole book in a row. I libri di Aciman mi piacciono quasi quanto questa raccolta di brevi saggi, in cui l'autore descrive alcune cittá (tra cui Roma e Alessandria), il regista Rohmer e altri poeti e libri famosi, che mi hanno dato l'opportunitá di allungare la mia giá infinita lista di libri da leggere. Purtroppo peró in alcuni casi, ho trovato i capitoli un po' ripetitivi e quindi consiglio di non leggere il libro tutto di seguito.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Simoné Eloff

    Never read a collection of essays in my life, but when I saw this available to "Read Now" on Netgalley, I figured, why not broaden my horizons a bit? Never read a collection of essays in my life, but when I saw this available to "Read Now" on Netgalley, I figured, why not broaden my horizons a bit?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Seemita

    I am the gap between what I am and what I am not. Even before the essays – beautiful, wise, full yet strangely wistful – begin to sing, this quote of the maverick Fernando Pessoa finds place. And that rounds up the mood of the collection. Irrealis mood. And it might not have sounded louder in any tunnel of time than of right now; now, when our smallest of desires suffocate between the walls of a world we are no longer able to recognize. Why do we feel a freefall of emotions seeing a stranger I am the gap between what I am and what I am not. Even before the essays – beautiful, wise, full yet strangely wistful – begin to sing, this quote of the maverick Fernando Pessoa finds place. And that rounds up the mood of the collection. Irrealis mood. And it might not have sounded louder in any tunnel of time than of right now; now, when our smallest of desires suffocate between the walls of a world we are no longer able to recognize. Why do we feel a freefall of emotions seeing a stranger couple on the silver screen? Why should a piece of music imagined by someone else take us to a place that is both their’s and ours? How the touch of an unknown warrior triggers a pain in us that throbs with a shared intensity? Perhaps, it is these ambiguous spaces within which we live. Ambiguity in art is nothing more than an invitation to think, to risk, to intuit what is perhaps in us as well, and was always in us, and may be more in us than in the work itself, or in the work because of us, or conversely, in us now because of the work. The inability to distinguish these strands is not incidental to art; it is art. Meditating on a life that has seen displacement but also identity, upheaval but also healing, André Aciman talks about people who made the journey interesting, often granting him a patch of sunshine but also teasing his heart with the magic of early winter breeze – Claude Monet, Sigmund Freud, C P Cavafy, W G Sebald, John Sloan, Éric Rohmer, Fyodor Dostoevsky, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Ludwig van Beethoven, Fernando Pessoa. In between the brief felicities of is and could have been, he made his life. And I felt, I could too. Because I don’t know a single day when I haven’t cast shadows on a place I wish to be. Because I am devoid of days when a conversation has not unfurled in my mind that could not find its real formation. I realized, like a reaffirmation, that what books and notes, people and posterity document are as much my truth as those that find no record. And all the art in the world is my canvas to write that unrecorded part of my being. In these times of anxiety, in Aciman’s ruminations, like a friend bumped into after a hiatus, I found much solace and joy. Should you need a friend, know this gentleman comes with my recommendation. What’s more? He might tell you a thing or two about me! ------ Because I found such dazzling beauty in this collection, I am sharing some for your sumptuous smothering: Remanence is the retention of residual magnetism in an object long after the external magnetic force has been removed. Remanence is the memory of something that has vanished and left no trace of itself but that, like a missing limb, continues to exert its presence. The water is gone, but the dowsing rod responds to earth’s memory of water. They continue to hover over the city like the ghost of unfledged desires that forgot to die and stayed alive without me, despite me. Each Rome I’ve known seems to drift or burrow into the next, but none goes away. I spotted one store that sold a product you find in every gift shop in St. Petersburg: colorful, high-end matryoshka dolls. The painted wooden dolls of increasing size nested one inside the other provide a metaphor for everything here: one regime, one leader, one period nested in the other, or, as Dostoevsky is rumored to have said, one writer coming out of another’s overcoat pocket. Beethoven will keep repeating and extending the process until it is reduced to its barest elements and he’s left with five notes, three notes, one note, no note, no breath. The fullness of the absence after the final notes is the whole point, and he’s fearless in making us hear it. And may be all art strives just for that, life without death. The greatest art – Beethoven’s soundless last note, Joyce’s snow, the Proustian sentence that enacts the paradox of time – peers squarely into the unfathomable: the mystery of not being there to know we’re already absent.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    If someone were able to feed all my dream aesthetics and literary interests and the thoughts that plague me when I am in the midst of a fit of nostalgia-infused melancholy and produce the perfect book for a person like me (or at least the person I aspire to be), it would definitely be a "Homo Irrealis". This is a well-written, well-argued collection of essays about some of Aciman's favorite creators and the literature and art that has haunted him throughout his life. A certain familiarity with t If someone were able to feed all my dream aesthetics and literary interests and the thoughts that plague me when I am in the midst of a fit of nostalgia-infused melancholy and produce the perfect book for a person like me (or at least the person I aspire to be), it would definitely be a "Homo Irrealis". This is a well-written, well-argued collection of essays about some of Aciman's favorite creators and the literature and art that has haunted him throughout his life. A certain familiarity with the people in question (though not their entire artistic production) might make this more interesting to a reader, but I don't think it's a requirement to enjoying this book. Aciman being who he is, he is less interested in the facts or plot details and more in sensations, and more importantly, the sensations that each work evokes in him. And in all honesty, that is one of my favorite type of criticism: the one that provides historical and artistic context for each work, but then delves in to the sensations, memories, feelings that it has produced in the reader. I find those types of essays far more illuminating, or at least more entertaining. I do think the introduction is the pièce de resistance of this entire collection, not least because it makes an argument for nostalgia not as something that we feel towards the past as it was, but rather about the future that could have been, when we longed for things to change and for us to be happier, more like ourselves in another place, in other circumstances. Still, if you like Aciman's style, maybe first check the table of contents to see how interested you are in the authors he discusses, but definitely don't miss out on this.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Andre Aciman has a beautiful way with words. This warms my little academic heart. It makes me long to see Rome again, just to experience it through Aciman’s eyes as he experienced it through these different historical figures’ eyes. He portrays this hunt for an identity, purpose, and meaning through the lenses of artists and cities. I learned that there's wonder in being lost and in the middle. As a young adult who is still trying to find their direction in life, it's this in-between state of sh Andre Aciman has a beautiful way with words. This warms my little academic heart. It makes me long to see Rome again, just to experience it through Aciman’s eyes as he experienced it through these different historical figures’ eyes. He portrays this hunt for an identity, purpose, and meaning through the lenses of artists and cities. I learned that there's wonder in being lost and in the middle. As a young adult who is still trying to find their direction in life, it's this in-between state of should haves, could haves, would haves can create something remarkable. Having read some of Aciman’s work before, I was able to appreciate some of the connections to his other work, especially Call Me By Your Name. I can understand how some people could find this slow, but I thoroughly enjoyed the pace. It is a contemplative work — you cannot rush these thoughts. He discusses this irrealis figment each artist projects onto a city, yet he is doing the same thing with his writing - making you long for an experience that could happen but might never happen. He makes the irrealis mood a safe space. I do feel like I missed out on some of the references to literature or movies that were not completely explained, but it did not hinder my overall enjoyment of this book. I would recommend this to someone who enjoys analysis of the world or is looking to have an existential crisis.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Louderback

    I wanted, from the outset, to savor every line of this book. And I didn’t know it then, but I wanted, too, to be able to savor the moment of looking back to before I’d read each line, to be able to feel nostalgia for the moment of wanting to be able to savor each sentence — and further even still, looking forward to this moment of longing to go back to the moment I first read about Aciman’s upcoming collection, Homo Irrealis, or even further to when I hoped soon to hear of a new book by Aciman, I wanted, from the outset, to savor every line of this book. And I didn’t know it then, but I wanted, too, to be able to savor the moment of looking back to before I’d read each line, to be able to feel nostalgia for the moment of wanting to be able to savor each sentence — and further even still, looking forward to this moment of longing to go back to the moment I first read about Aciman’s upcoming collection, Homo Irrealis, or even further to when I hoped soon to hear of a new book by Aciman, and further to when I read Call Me By Your Name and wanted, at once, to be able to move backwards in time to anticipate reading it for the first time. Again. And now, I’m puzzling through so many thoughts spiraled with memory layered over memory so that I am, myself, sort of lost in time and out of time. I am who I am now, looking back to who I thought I was, wondering about who I might someday be but never quite became but still could become — and I’m already thinking about some moment in the future when I’ll look back at this moment and long, again, to know who I am now, writing this in anticipation of who I’ll be then, looking back.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Howdle

    Aciman lacks the depths to be an essayist. His concept is interesting, but his writing is short of critical insights. You would think that a contemporary Alexandrian writer could see Cavafy in a new light, but the essay on Cavafy focuses on a poem that is almost a Cavafian cliche and manages to say nothing original about Cafavy at all. The same is true of Aciman's essay on Sebald. Could there be a writer more suited to the melancholic realm of homo irrealis and Aciman's theme? Even here, Aciman Aciman lacks the depths to be an essayist. His concept is interesting, but his writing is short of critical insights. You would think that a contemporary Alexandrian writer could see Cavafy in a new light, but the essay on Cavafy focuses on a poem that is almost a Cavafian cliche and manages to say nothing original about Cafavy at all. The same is true of Aciman's essay on Sebald. Could there be a writer more suited to the melancholic realm of homo irrealis and Aciman's theme? Even here, Aciman fails -- not a mention of The Rings of Saturn and that book's quest for imaginary reality and the nighttime world of Sir Thomas Browne. Instead, Aciman is content to write about Sebald's connection to the Holocaust. Very simply, the essays lack critical scope. By the end of the book, Aciman is running out of steam and he pads the volume with a dull essay on the nature of endings in writing and music. He turns to a souffle metaphor and in doing so describes this book perfectly -- a set of ideas filled with verbosity and hot air.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Finished for Becca's Bookopolathon I like Acimans writing so therefore liked this, but i don't think it will be for everyone. I've not read a collection of essays before but I will definitely read more in the future and will also be reading his other collection of essays as well as his book about egypt as my favourites were about that. The Essays i liked i really loved but the essays i didn't were very meh. Throughout the first half i googled everything he referenced and was loving it but toward Finished for Becca's Bookopolathon I like Acimans writing so therefore liked this, but i don't think it will be for everyone. I've not read a collection of essays before but I will definitely read more in the future and will also be reading his other collection of essays as well as his book about egypt as my favourites were about that. The Essays i liked i really loved but the essays i didn't were very meh. Throughout the first half i googled everything he referenced and was loving it but towards the middle/end i wasn't really then by it and for me it lost some of its meandering writing style which is what i love. Introduction: 5 Underground: 2 In Freuds shadow part 1: 3 In freuds shadow part 2: 5 Cavafy's bed: 5 Sebald misspent lives: 4 Sloans gaslight: 4 Evenings with rohmer: 3 Adrift in sunlit night: 3.5 Elsewhere on screen: 3.5 Swanns kiss: 2 Bethovens souffle: 2 Almost there: 4.5 Corots: 4 Unfinished thoughts: 4

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ameya

    “All great art invariably lets us say the same thing: This was really about me.” And this book was really about me. I won it through a Goodreads giveaway, with no expectations and no knowledge of its contents, just that it was written by André Aciman, whose Call Me By Your Name I adored. It was a fortunate coincidence that I received the book in the mail at a time when I desperately needed its words. Homo Irrealis is a compilation of personal essays, all revolving around the irrealis mood, a ten “All great art invariably lets us say the same thing: This was really about me.” And this book was really about me. I won it through a Goodreads giveaway, with no expectations and no knowledge of its contents, just that it was written by André Aciman, whose Call Me By Your Name I adored. It was a fortunate coincidence that I received the book in the mail at a time when I desperately needed its words. Homo Irrealis is a compilation of personal essays, all revolving around the irrealis mood, a tense that describes something that could’ve or would’ve happened, but didn’t and probably won’t. Aciman’s expectedly beautiful prose transported me through time and across the world, pages filled with pretty sentences and self-discovery, his and my own. It is not often a book speaks to me on this level, providing comfort I cherish.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul "Axl" Hurman

    Part personal writing, part travel writing, part criticism, this is an intriguing mish mash that doesn’t quite work overall. The parts where he’s writing about himself are really engaging and interesting, the travel writing parts are okay, but the critical writing is dull and at times incredibly patronising and/or arrogant, while at the same time not being as intelligent as it thinks it is. Still, it was a solid three out of five overall, until the final five essays which were, frankly, awful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    So, the essays are good, but it was hard for me to connect with them, as they were about things that just aren't that familiar to me. Like the two essays about "Claire's Knee" and "Chloe in the Afternoon" - I saw them (double feature, multiple times) when they showed at the movie theatre where I was an usher in 1972. I don't really remember them, but the author, who was about the same as I when he saw them, remembers them very well. Excellent writing, but not really the book for me. So, the essays are good, but it was hard for me to connect with them, as they were about things that just aren't that familiar to me. Like the two essays about "Claire's Knee" and "Chloe in the Afternoon" - I saw them (double feature, multiple times) when they showed at the movie theatre where I was an usher in 1972. I don't really remember them, but the author, who was about the same as I when he saw them, remembers them very well. Excellent writing, but not really the book for me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mariam

    4.5 ⭐ Beside this incredible well-written, well-argued collection of essays about some of André's thoughts that haunted him through his life and talking about some of the literature and arts, there's something in his writings that's ever so dear to me; the way he provides historical and artistic context for each work, but then delves in to the sensations, memories and feelings that i could easily feel related to. 4.5 ⭐ Beside this incredible well-written, well-argued collection of essays about some of André's thoughts that haunted him through his life and talking about some of the literature and arts, there's something in his writings that's ever so dear to me; the way he provides historical and artistic context for each work, but then delves in to the sensations, memories and feelings that i could easily feel related to.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Prathap

    In a collection of deeply contemplative essays, André Aciman ponders over the essence of time in art with the help of additional themes of travel, nostalgia, memories and sundry, taking the reader on a trip spanning the entirety of his life and career. Essays range from his brilliantly rendered memories of his visits to Rome, spliced with his observations of Freud and even bringing references of Julia Child (Like Freud's fantasized Rome, where layers of time zones.........,and memory are still b In a collection of deeply contemplative essays, André Aciman ponders over the essence of time in art with the help of additional themes of travel, nostalgia, memories and sundry, taking the reader on a trip spanning the entirety of his life and career. Essays range from his brilliantly rendered memories of his visits to Rome, spliced with his observations of Freud and even bringing references of Julia Child (Like Freud's fantasized Rome, where layers of time zones.........,and memory are still being folded into one another..... To paraphrase Julia Child, folding is a sort of zigzagging,....). He goes on to dissect the works of Sebald, Rohmer, Beethoven, and Proust. The essay on tracing Dostoyevsky's footsteps in St. Petersburg titled Adrift in Sunlit Night is perhaps one of the highlights of the book for me because of sheer accessible brilliance of its prose. Although I savoured each essay as it is meant to be, taking time as I re-read some passages, some sections got too philosophical and made me swim languidly in their somewhat dense themes. Yet there's much to enjoy in the book. received ARC from Netgalley and publishers Farrar, Straus and Giroux in return for an honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    T

    "All great art invariably lets us say the same thing: This was really about me. And this, in most cases, is not only a consolation, it's an uplifting revelation that reminds me that we are not alone, that others are like us too." "All great art invariably lets us say the same thing: This was really about me. And this, in most cases, is not only a consolation, it's an uplifting revelation that reminds me that we are not alone, that others are like us too."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Graham Parker

    An astonishing set of essays that probe the very essence of desire, time, want, need and reality. Constantly pushing the reader to contemplate what is now, or what we want to be now or what we want or think we need in the future.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Evan Bennett

    One of the most beautiful writers who has perfected escapism writing; Andre's essays are intimate, with a sense of longing and nostalgia that only he can emanate through writing. Irrealis Mood is a very complex topic which he explains in a way no other could. A must read in my opinion! One of the most beautiful writers who has perfected escapism writing; Andre's essays are intimate, with a sense of longing and nostalgia that only he can emanate through writing. Irrealis Mood is a very complex topic which he explains in a way no other could. A must read in my opinion!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kurt Anderson

    Some great, some just ok, all worth a read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Wow

  29. 5 out of 5

    Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City

    DNF @ 25% — just couldn’t get into it, too challenging for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Banks

    Good for pondering but philosophically weak. Full of sentimental recollections, and a fiction-like warmness that makes it pleasurable.

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