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The Art of Sufficient Conclusions 

Sarah Dearling (Mansfield Press)

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“The desire for facts and the need for fiction are often interchangeable....” And that is exactly the attitude Sarah Dearling takes in her newest novel. I have difficulty calling it a novel because the ever-tenuous genre does not quite apply. Half-memoir, half-fiction, The Art of Sufficient Conclusions follows a young, troubled teacher who stands in place of the author, as she follows her lover to London, England, and is compelled by a search for her long lost father—a silent film actor sold to a sculptor—who seems to evade her at every turn. With an air of slightly pretentious confidence paired with a narrative voice of scientific exactness, this odd little book is largely a philosophical tangent accessorized by a plot that, at times, seems secondary to the author’s meandering thoughts on truth, love, art, grief, and memory. While I respect it, I didn’t quite enjoy it.

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