Monday, June 4, 2012
This Book Will Change Your Life - The Damnation of Memory by Mark R. Brand.
Travel. Read. Planes. Trains. Read. Read. Read. Which brings us to The Damnation of Memory by the Mark R. Brand. So much to think and feel with this book, a book highly indebted we think to The Road, among other sources, but The Road for sure. Which is tricky in a way. What does it mean to compare a book to one of the best books of the last decade? Do you risk over-hyping it? Or possibly overshadowing it? What about people who don't like The Road, find it too dark or sad? We don't know what to say about that, but there is journey, end of the world ruminations, and fathers and sons. And yet, its different as well, being indebted to something is not being something, and Damnation is something else, bleak, but not stark, with more nuance and room to breath, the relationships, and the world, less black and white. The story is also less propulsive, and more like life itself, looking forwards, even as we look backwards, and sideways. And all of this makes for a relentlessly absorbing read that is sad and dark and ultimately also akin to other stories about the road, not just The Road, especially Of Mice of Men, less journey maybe, then being set loose in a world that has no place for you. Though maybe it does, but not exactly, and ultimately not at all. We should add here, that we are fans of Brand's earlier work, and Brand once said to us that he appreciated our appreciation of his debut novel Red Ivy Afternoon, but it felt so old to him now and didn't necessarily reflect how he had grown and where he was going. Authors say this all the time, all artists do, but we have to say that Brand did speak the truth here, Red Ivy Afternoon is an absorbing read for sure, but Damnation is a leap forward, richer, with a more varied voice and grasp of description, and this is a wonderful thing to see, and experience, and we hope you will see it and experience it too, because if you do, we think it just might change your life.