This Window Makes Me Feel

Robert Fitterman. Ugly Duckling, $17 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-937027-95-7
A series of declarations beginning with the collection’s title accumulate into a tender and droll snapshot of the early-21st-century American psyche in this latest from Fitterman (Nevermind). Composed entirely of language culled from the web, the affective statements are everyday confessions where the benign moves easily into the fraught, the sincere into the flip, and the comedic into the bleak. As the lines proliferate beyond what a single person’s experience might contain, the confiding, casual first-person speaker is revealed as not one, but many voices, speaking not in chorus but in successive, self-reflexive solos. These voices originate from a near past, where “This window makes me feel sad and filled with self-loathing to think that it is difficult to exist for two days without cell service.” Though no events transpire within the book as such, it stands as an occasional work marked in place and time—”New York City - 8:35 AM, September 11, 2001”—and so aligns itself with the turn of the millennium, a state suspended exactly pre-9/11. A question hangs in the air throughout; the agent-of-all-feelings window, is it a browser? A particular period of time? A particular view out onto the lives of others? Fitterman leaves his book’s touchstone subtly open. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 06/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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