The Book of Love: Improvisations on a Crazy Little Thing

Roger Rosenblatt. Ecco, $22.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-06-234942-2

Improv is usually associated with comedy, and while Rosenblatt (The Boy Detectives) imbues this work with plenty of humor, his stream-of-consciousness musings on all the facets of the things people love, from lovers and family to work and art, are more metaphysical than comedic. As in his other works, the main topic is just a starting point for a literary adventure; he combines genres, including memoir, essay, prose-poem, and literary/cultural analysis, the way an artist mixes paints or a musician combines notes. The result is dynamic writing that changes from sentence to sentence and thought to thought as Rosenblatt touches on personal memories, sports, movies, literature, the classics, and random observations of daily life. More amazing than his ability to connect all these distinct and disparate ideas into a cohesive narrative is his capacity for tying them all into the notion of love, both a universal emotion and a very personal feeling. By opening up his own heart and mind, Rosenblatt creates a work so diverse and comprehensive that it feels more like a shared dream than merely an intricately written reflection of one man's life and loves. (Jan.)
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