Anne Carson’s new book Nox, at first sight looks like a Vollmann-esque door stopper of at least a thousand pages — until you hold the book and realize that it opens like a treasure box to reveal an accordion-like sprawl of paper that unfolds and keeps unfolding on your desk.
The pages are filled with mimeographed heirlooms and lost photographs and blurred entries from old dictionaries and, even if I haven’t started “reading” this object yet I can feel its innate poignancy and yearning. What then is this strange creation?
It is something of an elegy and an epitaph and something too of an investigation into how you can memorialize the dead at all. I know this only by the brief description inside that prefaces the uncoiling paper trail.
In the midst of many distractions I haven’t started yet peeling back the skins of this luminous paper object. I didn’t think twice though about buying it.
In the meantime, Sam Anderson has a beautiful write-up of Nox.