The latest cross-genre offering from Hejinian (The Unfollowing) operates as a repetitive and self-aware daily index of the mundane amid the mid-2000s financial crisis, “whereby capital extended its efforts at privatization.” The project consists of 26 essayistic blocks of text that involve literary scholarship, fictional character references, and poetry loosely linked in a stream of consciousness recounting of quotidian elements of daily practice. The book pivots around the disorientation of the “aesthetics of minutiae, with their promise of infinitude”; a pointed and inconclusive protest against an “awareness of orders of magnitude that include atrocity, war, capitalism, and perhaps—though it may be mortality’s saving grade—death.” Against this backdrop, the simultaneous desire for “novelty (for which we sample and browse)” and the unremarkable qualities of everyday objects opens as “an intersection, a portal, a source of energy, and a point of departure (rather than terminus)” set against the unceasing flow of time. For Hejinian, even as newly incorporated pieces of information continually interrupt the reader’s linear journey, these meditations log an accumulating act of “ambiguous progress” that resists “the cognitive pleasures and constructive possibilities” of interpretation to acknowledge the ways that change, contingency, and unpredictability work in tandem to “keep the future open.” (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2018 Release date: 12/01/2018 Genre: Fiction
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