• The cover of the book Memory Theater

    Memory Theater

    Philosopher Simon Critchley offers a mind-bending meditation on memory in his part-essay, part-history, part-fiction novel. In the semiautobiographical novel, Simon receives boxes of manuscripts from a recently deceased French thinker. Among the papers are charts predicting the deaths of great philosophers, all accurate, including one for Simon himself. Faced with mortality in minute detail, Simon undertakes the construction of a personal memory theater—based on the one described by Renaissance thinker Giulio “Delminio” Camillo (which he was apparently commissioned to actually build) that would contain all human knowledge—as the novel blends the various elements of personal, philosophical, and historical into a contemplative whole. It’s an illuminating little book, wholly unique and intellectually playful, and, appropriately, one you’ll never forget. (101 pages)

     
  • The cover of the book Home

    Home

    Frank Money, the twentysomething Korean War vet returning home from battle and faced with the additional and ironic fact that the world he’s returning to is less integrated than the Army was, stands with Milkman as one of Morrison’s most vivid male characters, as well as the most sympathetic. As the young man tries to figure out a way to re-enter real life and as he’s forced to help his younger sister and return her to their hometown, Morrison writes so caringly about his complex adjustment and so painfully of the America Frank finds when he comes back from defending it. (145 pages)

     
  • The cover of the book In the Café of Lost Youth

    In the Café of Lost Youth

    In Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano’s In the Café of Lost Youth, four narrators tell the story of Louki, a kind of Edie Sedgwick of the Guy Debord set (the novel is partly inspired by the Marxist’s circle), who fascinates as much as she beguiles. “There are holes in my memory,” Louki writes during her turn to narrate, which may as well be the book’s condensed starting point, as even with four disparate speakers (including Louki herself) the memories and the identity of one human being remains elusive, incomplete, and lost irretrievably to the past. (118 pages)