Borealis

Aisha Sabatini Sloan. Coffee House, $14.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-56689-619-1
Essayist Sabatini Sloan (Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit) muses on ice, art, and her exes in this lyrical exploration of Homer, Alaska. “I have spent three summers here with women I’ve dated,” she writes, and returns on her own, exploring the town through her memories. There’s “K,” an ex-girlfriend who brought the author to Homer for the first time, and an unnamed second ex who “seduced me by embodying the personality of the desert.” Along the way, Sabatini Sloan weaves in references to a slew of artists: she muses on Jean Toomer’s “circle fragments,” cites Paul Simon as an influence, quotes Anne Carson, and listens to Björk while looking at eagles. But most prominent is the work of photographer Lorna Simpson, which the author examines in depth. Throughout, the descriptions are surprising and funny (“Alaskans were like my girlfriend, prepared for discomfort, easy to smile. Dressed like geology majors”), the musings on race in Alaska poignant (“You may be the second African American person there,” her father says), and the prose punchy, vulnerable, and surprising: “I don’t know how to be me and write about nature... I don’t know the names of anything. I wanted to call seagulls kayaks a minute ago.” There’s plenty here to please essay fans. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/27/2021
Release date: 11/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-56689-628-3
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