Ars Botanica

Tim Taranto. Curbside Splendor, $14.95 trade paper (185p) ISBN 978-1-940430-98-0
Part epistolary memoir and part emotive taxonomy of significant flora and fauna, the primary endeavor of this book, Taranto’s debut, is transformation: to wring from grief the shape and substance of art. In a series of letters to his and his former partner’s unborn child, Taranto details love’s earliest stages, disrupted by one of life’s most difficult decisions. It’s clear from the outset that this is a couple bound for heartbreak, but Taranto nonetheless lingers—therapeutically, perhaps—on their “blissed out era,” replete with the many intimacies of a lover’s universe, shared and special: “She sang me ‘Unchained Melody’ and I sat down in the middle of the road, feeling especially small under a canopy of our shining galaxy.” Still, despite the address to their child, the memoir reads more like a love letter to Taranto’s then partner, as a testament to the life they shared before the abortion, the future that could have been, and—at least to Taranto—the pain that brought them closer before it undid them: “What is love if not the refuge we find in another when confronted with life’s suffering?” A study in letting go, even the excess of happy moments recounted in grief serve as a reminder of grief’s essential paradox: “The more I feel your presence, the more acute your absence is; the more of you I’ve got, the more of you I’ve lost.” (July)
Reviewed on: 04/17/2017
Release date: 07/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 185 pages - 978-1-945883-03-3
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