It is the subjective “us,” that most basic of true fictions that we use to explain our existence in the present, and, more generally, in time, that interests Ali Smith.
It almost does not matter what someone does or what happens to them. Rather, what matters is what someone thinks they have experienced. As Popova suggests, the true changes in our lives are cognitive as much as they are biographical—or, rather, if they are biographically significant, it is only
The final book in Mantel’s award-winning trilogy completes the suggestion that time is the mirror in which we see ourselves, and that the uncertain reflections we cast change according to the source and quality of the light.
In the summer of 1926, Rilke, Pasternak, and Tsvetayeva are poised on the brink of disaster, but instead of anticipating it, or of dwelling on what may come, they write. Their letters attest to a febrile, almost frenzied creative period.
In her exploration of the Chernobyl disaster, Svetlana Alexievich dramatizes history—as she insists, we can only understand events of this magnitude by recasting them on a human scale.
Devastatingly, Tove Ditlevsen’s three-part memoir suggests that acquiring a room of one’s own and becoming a successful writer does not preclude sharing the fate of one’s mother.