THE QUARTERLY CONVERSATION Reviews Lance Olsen’s [[THERE.]]

Here’s an excerpt from Jeff Bursey‘s review:

The oddly framed and punctuated title, [[there.]], is appropriate for its locale, a country that removed one wall, swelled in size from West Germany to all Germany (its territory went from a here to a there, you might say), and erected an economic-ideological barrier between itself and PIIGS. In the name of stability it has extended protection of its economic interests in a southerly direction and forced uniform debt “haircuts” on the holders of Mediterranean debt.

Olsen gives one potential interpretation for the use of [[ ]]: “Maybe [[ ]] for what must be removed from the chronic to be experienced”; on the other hand, those marks evoke the defenses of a walled city-state. Think how we’d approach a book with {{there!}} as its title. We might blurt out, “That looks friendly!” or even “It’s a children’s tale!” Then there’s the matter of the period, snugly contained, a way of underlining that “there” is a fine place, so why budge? As one of the major themes of the book is travel, this allows a nice tension to build. On the cover, the title—a nebulous location, an undefined state of mind, a time out from the United States for Olsen, who wrote most of the book in Germany, but parts back home and on planes—and the protection around it are both set against a field of grey and black with spidery veins (or cracks in a wall) that make for a forbidding picture. What are we about to enter?

Read the rest of the review HERE.

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