cover image Don’t Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn’t Seen

Don’t Look Now: Things We Wish We Hadn’t Seen

Edited by Kristen Iversen and David Lazar. Mad Creek, $21.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-8142-5601-5

Iversen and Lazar collect in this wide-ranging anthology essays from 16 authors on things they wish they’d never seen, while also contributing pieces of their own. One of the work’s most powerful essays is “Trigger Warnings” by Amelia María de la Luz Montes, who witnessed her father’s suicide by gunshot. Iversen offers more general musings on mortality in “Love and Death in Mexico,” about a trip to the town San Miguel de Allende during which, led by an ethos that one should try “to see everything” while traveling, she watches a gory bullfight, causing her to reflect that what scares her about death is a sense that “there’s never enough time.” Lazar describes in “Muse of Brooklyn” how seeing his late mother alive in his dreams means that he must “wake to her death, time after time, reenacting grief.” Other essayists strike a more hopeful note, notably Xu Xi in “But for the Grace,” which recounts how haunted she still is by seeing a fellow student in college tormented in a hazing ritual, but locates in the act of revisiting traumatic memories an “exchange for just a little grace.” Iversen and Lazar’s collection will appeal to readers drawn to how literature can be used to confront, and possibly get past, damaging memories. (Oct.)