Dark Waves and Light Matter: Essays

Off the Bookshelf

Dark Waves and Light

Matter: Essays

by Albert Goldbarth

University of Georgia Press, 176 pp., $21.95

Goldbarth's essays quickly teach the reader how to read them: Be comfortable in a state of confusion and you will be thrilled with the clarity that follows. He boldly mixes incongruities, creating new connections between abstract ideas and concrete details. In "My Week Aboard a UFO!!!," for example, the jerky motions of a cardinal invoke cuts of film strips -- the bird's fluid movements, imperceptible to humans, are "the lesson of motion pictures: the human eye is fallible, and can't keep up, and invents." In "The Lake," seemingly coincidental events from 1913 are linked to show the beginning of a revolutionary modern consciousness. "When we think about the past, we need a pattern," Goldbarth says. "But the universe doesn't have a 'theme,' a 'plot.' Interpretation is a sliver in its slipstream." Goldbarth's interpretations ride that slipstream like a rafter on white water: risky, exhilarated, holding on for life and loving it.

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Dark Waves and Light Matter: Essays, Albert Goldbarth

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