Still Life with Insects

Brian Kiteley, Author Ticknor & Fields $15.45 (114p) ISBN 978-0-89919-898-9
The distinctive narrative form of Kiteley's intelligent first novel commands attention and resonates with insights. In a series of spare, often lyrical vignettes (the first dated 1945, the last 1984), narrator Elwyn Farmer records obliquely the circumstances of his life as he shakily finds his way back to emotional health following a nervous breakdown. He is a Minnesota chemist and dedicated amateur entomologist, and the occasion and rubric for each entry is a sighting made of a beetle species. Into his ken come not only the bugs but his wife, two sons, a brother, business associates, grandchildren--one of whom is writing a novel about him. In his carefully observant manner, Kiteley creates the virtual opposite of the conventional sprawling family novel; this narrative is a miniature, peeking into the dramas of uneventful middle-class lives as with a microscope. As in art miniatures too, the vividness of the closeups comes at the expense of scope and breadth. Nevertheless, there is depth and poignancy in the epiphanies these moments create. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Paperback - 125 pages - 978-1-940436-20-3
Ebook - 114 pages - 978-1-936873-38-8
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