Pin It
Favourite

Beauty & Sadness 

André Alexis (Anansi)

In “Part One: Echoes,” the Toronto-based Trinidadian-Canadian reconsiders how authors such as Guy de Maupassant, Jean Cocteau and Yasunari Kawabata have shaped him as reader and writer. Alexis traces these connections through a series of short stories, creating fictional worlds that combine his and his heroes’ spirits and sensibilities. “Mylène Saint-Brieuc (Henry James/Carlos Fuentes),” an erotic and melancholic story told in the second person, best exemplifies this simple, imaginative way of literary autobiography. With the first two essays in “Part Two: Reconciliations” (“Ivan Ilych: A Travelogue” and “Samuel Beckett, or On Reconciliation”), the undercurrent changes, going from melancholy to disillusionment to, finally, dissatisfaction. In “Water: A Memoir,” Alexis writes: “Some will like a work, others will not. It’s the fate of any book to meet with acceptance and rejection.” But the thrust of his memoir is distrust. Reviewers, for example, fail to offer aesthetic (arguably called academic nowadays) judgment of literary works, but indulge in a form of “autobiography.” But gauging and explaining one’s emotional response to a book---drawing on one’s own experiences---is arguably a form of rational, critical thinking. It counts. This last piece almost discounts what Alexis achieves in the bulk of this book.

Pin It
Favourite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Sean Flinn

Survey Asks

What's on Stephen McNeil's summer reading list?

  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed
  • Public Relations for Dummies
  • Trump: The Art of the Deal
  • Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
  • Fun with Fidget Spinners: 50 Super Cool Tricks and Activities

View Results

Art Attack

More »

In Print This Week

Vol 25, No 4
June 22, 2017

Cover Gallery »


Real Time Web Analytics

© 2017 Coast Publishing Ltd.