Syzygy, Beauty: An Essay

T Fleischmann. Sarabande (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 (124p) ISBN 978-1-936747-26-9
At its most basic, this unusual and engaging book describes the ins-and-outs of an unorthodox love affair, but it also functions as a sustained exploration of the ambiguities of love, gender, intimacy, and aesthetic possibilities. Fleischmann carves out a writing style somewhere between essay and poem, taking the reader through a series of vignettes that range from scenes of the affair, through meditations on Tracey Emin's Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963-1995 (a tent appliqued with the names of everyone the artist had ever slept with [though not necessarily in a sexual sense]), to philosophical attempts to define the compromises of romantic partnership. Early on, Fleischmann declares, "By describing something we place it at a distance," and this tension informs the stuttering action that follows. Attempting to describe the beloved and the act of loving, Fleischmann sets the writer at a distance from both. Fleischmann appears, unsurprisingly, as quite a lonesome narrator. The book, however, is engaging company. Its short passages are by turns smart and witty, but always carefully observed. Though certain passages are earnest to the point of tedium, the brief vignettes quickly give way to the next. Fleischmann asks tough questions about selfhood, love, and loneliness, and provides some keen and fresh--if ultimately inconclusive--answers. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 144 pages - 978-1-936747-35-1
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