Catapult. Aug. 2022. 140p. ISBN 9781646221387. Tr. LIT
Absurdist poet and novelist Ball (The Divers’ Game) turns the autobiography on its head with his latest memoir. Following writer Édouard Levé’s nontraditional take on personal narrative, Ball writes in a series of un-paragraphed, largely unrelated sentences. Ball explains that this approach “does not raise one fact above another but lets the facts stand together in a fruitless clump, like a life.” Biographic traditionalists may find this technique disjointed (several passages read like random lists) but as a whole, Ball makes compelling work of it, slabbing the matter of his life together like a Dadaist sculptor. His writing is straightforward and conversational. Addressing the unconventional nature of his work, he writes, “I believe a text should be elusive…should overflow its borders, demonstrating the complicity of our consciousness with the coloring of our surroundings and the supposed sequentially of events.” It is through this kind of text, Ball believes, that a reader becomes “conscious of the life they are living.” Whether or not this belief is universal this memoir certainly paints a multilayered picture of the author and reminds readers that “we are always in the moment after something has happened.”
VERDICT An unconventional memoir that speaks to the power of elusiveness. Recommended.
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