The Dream of Reason

Jenny George. Copper Canyon, $16 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-1-55659-519-6
George’s shimmering, mystical, and incisive debut reaches into the ether of the human experience and illuminates the irrational nature of emotions. She investigates imprisonment, violence, and loss of innocence in a universe governed by fluxes of psychological noise and disillusionment escapable only in fleeting moments of stillness: “Someone strikes a match. Briefly/ the Earth is illuminated.” Addressing interrelated forms of mental and physical imprisonment, George describes a crated pig in a slaughterhouse, noting how the captive animal’s “brain does not conceive/ of turning. But after farrowing,/ back in the pen with the others,/ she’ll circle herself for days/ trying to bite her own tail.” She also writes of violence as a singular, ravenous organism feeding off a seduction that “has many rooms/ like graves and like graves/ they are all connected.” George portrays the irrevocable loss of innocence as an “ocean that keeps/ on breaking,” with deliverance arriving only through the mercy of dreams: “All sleeping things are children.” She also displays a refreshing sense of humility given her enlightened vision, recognizing that “outside, other windows in other houses/ glowed with their own electric dreams.” George’s jewel of a collection acts as both a catalyst and antidote for philosophical ruminations, one that will keep readers asking themselves, “The great event—has it already occurred?” (June)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2018
Release date: 06/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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