Lyrical, brooding, and delightfully dreamlike, the novel is a strange and ruthless journey into the ailing heart of humanity—and a bizarre peek into the mind of a brilliant new novelist.
In a moment in which our country’s various wars, Revolutionary, Civil, World, and otherwise, are trawled for something to give meaning to our present calamities, studying the Kellogg brothers’ era and milieu is a refreshing and much-needed reminder that much of the reason why daily life looks the way it does owes not to generals or presidents, but to the works of scientists and businesspeople.
It isn’t the answers of healing and redemption that Saterstrom celebrates, but rather the questions themselves, which forever circle overhead in the rapturous, uncertain, electric, and paradoxical present.
Mario Vargas Llosa writes in “Why Literature?”, his 2001 essay for The New Republic, that “literary illusion lifts and transports us outside of history, and we become citizens in a timeless land, and in this way immortal.” Though Vargas Llosa is specifically referring to literary fiction, the same feeling pervades Carl Dennis’s extraordinary thirteenth collection of poems, Night School.
Jacques J. Rancourt’s new chapbook In the Time of PrEP (Beloit Poetry Journal, 2018) is a stunning exploration of what it means to live as a queer man today “on the other side of catastrophe,” a generation after the AIDS crisis.