Moth; or How I Came to Be with You Again

Thomas Heise, Author
Thomas Heise. Sarabande (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-936747-57-3
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-936747-56-6
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Neither memoir, poem, nor novel, Moth is somehow all three—an effusive ramble through the space of language and the language of memory. Written during a period of intensely disorienting insomnia, Heise’s “autobiography of fever” recalls the orphanage of the author’s childhood, an affair he had with a psychiatrist, and a peripatetic adulthood. The language that attaches to the Heise’s remembrance becomes itself disjointed so that whole entries turn into cascades of delirious association; for instance, a strange woman he followed across Prague’s Charles Bridge blurs into a German prostitute with scars like “pale crescents in an alien sky.” The unifying figure in the dream winding through Olso, Berlin, and New York is the mother the narrator never knew, and the unclaimable home that lingers just outside the power of words and recollections. The Heise’s dizzy prose can read like Rilke’s Malte Laurids Brigge run afoul of Lautréamont’s Maldoror—and yet moments of lucid immediacy regularly emerge to devastating effect. Heise seems capable of doing anything with words, and this book is a diagram of life’s “internal chambers” that ventures into bleary territory hitherto thought unspeakable. (July)
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