Daybook from Sheep Meadow

Peter Dimock. Deep Vellum, $15.95 trade paper (150p) ISBN 978-1-64605-059-8
Dimock (A Short Rhetoric for Leaving the Family) provocatively weaves history and philosophy into an unorthodox fictional biography. Christopher Martinson has collected all 126 of his older brother Tallis’s handwritten notebooks, and annotates the entries as part of his narration. These serve as both source material and stimulus for Christopher’s effort to reconnect with Tallis, a renowned historian who has voluntarily committed himself to a psychiatric care facility. Dimock’s setup allows him to move fluidly from excerpts of Tallis’s study of contemporary war to his disquisitions on the Civil War, John James Audubon, Hieronymous Bosch, and other subjects. In a note, Dimock describes this as “a novel of linguistic dispersion,” and his bibliography cites the work of abolitionists, linguists, philosophers, and poets. The juxtapositions are insightful and trenchant, the syntheses often brilliant. Tallis’s testimony on the use of drones in the Iraq War—and the Orwellian doublespeak he discovered in Pentagon documents—adds to a tapestry of disillusion and creeping madness (“I believe he suddenly experienced the loss of the sense that he could trust the world he had previously confidently known and helped to shape as a responsible beneficiary and highly regarded narrator and interpreter of American power”). Throughout, Christopher offers juicy, distilled erudition on his brother’s life and work. This experiment is a resounding success. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/14/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-64605-060-4
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