Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays

Durga Chew-Bose. FSG Original, $15 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-53595-7
Twists in language and heady cultural references elevate Chew-Bose’s debut above the recent crop of personal essay collections by young writers. Focusing on the complications of growing up and establishing oneself, the essays explore what it means to be a brown girl in a white world and “the beautiful dilemma of being first-generation” Canadian. The collection reads like a writer’s notebook, mixing the intimacy of a personal journal with formal experiments. Random memories—a dead squirrel in the yard of her childhood home, a past conversation with a friend—lead way to grander topics, such as marriage, death, or “the dicey irreparableness of being.” Chew-Bose maintains an ambitious and inventive style, employing long lists of sensations to describe feelings and using parentheticals to address the reader directly. She is also a veritable dictionary of contemporary culture. Short ruminations on a painting by Swedish painter Karin Mamma Andersson, singer Nina Simone’s “Ain’t Got No,” or journalist John Gregory Dunne’s memoir Monster pop up in the author’s streams of consciousness. Evocative phrases and bold metaphors such as “memory blistering,” “scrapped corner of our imaginations,” and “writing is a closed pistachio shell” color this take on the modern experience. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/27/2017
Release date: 04/11/2017
Ebook - 232 pages - 978-1-4434-4911-3
Ebook - 978-0-374-71468-0
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