Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative

Lawrence Weschler. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $26.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-58243-757-6
Former New Yorker staff writer Weschler (The Passion of Poland) gathers the finest fruits of the last 15 years in this delectable collection. The title piece, a metaphysical twist on digital animation, discusses reality and trickery with the arbiters of "algorithmic" expressions and deftly reinforces the importance of strong narrative in order to captivate "our ensouled and incarnate natures." Weschler's intense allusions are rarely straightforward, as in "Three Improbable Yarns," a marvelous mesh of Jewish identity, human rights, and past work in the Balkans. An avant-garde Berlin showcase of his grandfather Ernst Toch's best concerto flows into a discourse on life and death, then inspires a sublime comparative essay of Milosz's "In Rome" and Szymborska's "Reality Demands," with Weschler in his element and the reader under his spell. His regard for visual and performance art proves mesmerizing in an initially unnerving account of the Danish Billedstofteater that morphs into a serene inference to the "current crisis of vision." Though rambunctious satire sends some adventures off in new directions, Weschler provides elegant and worthwhile conclusions. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 321 pages - 978-1-58243-841-2
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-61902-051-1
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