Aug 9 - Fog -- Kathryn Scanlan

Staff Pick

Writers are sometimes divided into putter-iners and taker-outers. Scanlan may belong to a new category: the re-arranger. Billed as fiction, her book is truly sui generis, though it may be closer to haiku or to the revealed poetry of erasure than to prose of any genre. Based on the diary of a woman who, at the age of eighty-nine, started recording spare notes about weather, friends’ health, puzzles, and other everyday activities, Scanlan’s book is a collection of separate paragraphs drawn from the original entries, each rarely covering even half a page. Grouped by season, they telescope what were presumably the last five years of the diarist’s life. Starting with “Happy New Year. Brr. Brr. Brr” and ending with “Sun shining then rainy but clearing,” Scanlan’s version gives us a distinctive voice and, soon, a personality and story—or rather—story lines. We get names, events, and sensory details, but the impact lies in the oral rhythms and juxtapositions rather than in explicit narrative. Many entries are beautiful and surprisingly moving, such as one memorable summer day when the writer “took drive thru timber, turned and come back. Found condemned bridge & didn’t cross it.”

Aug 9 - Fog Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374106874
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: MCD - June 4th, 2019

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