A beautiful, melancholy tour down the Sussex river, the river in which Virginia Woolf drowned herself in 1941. Laing blends Woolf's history with stories of her own heartbreak, while also looking at the powerful role this shared landscape played in shaping both their lives. At once a breathtaking piece of nature writing, literary criticism and history. It is a book I did not want to end.
My copy of this book is completely dogeared and underlined. I've forced it onto friends and family and recommend it to everyone who comes in the store. Lacey's writing style is unlike anything I have every read before, and she writes about our hidden desires for escape and invisibility in a way that is poignant and heartfelt, while never falling prey to sentimentality (this book is definitely dark, in the best possible way). A haunting debut from a very, very talented writer.
Mysterious, fragmented dreamscapes. The essays in Sidewalks exist in a place that moves a little slower, meditations and obsessions on empty spaces, new apartments and collapsing buildings, a glimpse of the world through the eyes of a poet. Luiselli has the remarkable ability to make connections, such as comparing her search for the writer Joseph Brodsky’s grave in Venice to the thrill of anticipation when meeting a stranger in a hotel lobby, seem not only natural, but obvious.