This sixth installment of a series discusses literature as a means of sharing stories to experience—and learn from—history.
Throughout her series, Clovis (Falling Bedrooms, 2019, etc.) has addressed the notion of synchronicity, which is akin to Jung’s collective unconscious. This entry centers on the written word as a way for the past to synchronize with readers in the present. First and foremost, the author explores the importance of imparting knowledge. She sees libraries as “places where truth hides and lives within the words of stories” as well as receptacles for the “voices of civilization.” Books help people think and remember, but the author argues that they can also offer encouragement. In one instance, Clovis writes that a shared story can turn “the captivity of slavery” into a message of freedom. But while the author stresses the power of words and information, her most striking assertion is how harmful the lack of both can be. For example, she cites the Trump administration’s silence after shutting down White House press conferences. She further notes a recent decline in history majors. Because Clovis links truth to history, a shortage of individuals writing about the past will ultimately deprive people of the crucial facts and contexts they need to understand important, present-day issues. As in preceding books, the author intelligently explores social concerns, such as racial discrimination, and includes her personal experiences. She openly discusses an aneurysm, which she incorporates thematically, that momentarily rendered her unable to speak (and, therefore, took away her words). Her easygoing, succinct prose makes occasional criticisms less severe but still profound; rectifying social media’s “fraudulent” news is merely a matter of researching and checking facts. Moreover, Clovis writes in brief, generally one-page chapters. These periodically give way to her striking, poetic reflections: “Night serves a function that illuminates fairy tale dust in the twinkle of a sparkle glitter. It is the color of baby’s breath blown from the cosmic shelves of time.”
A persuasive examination of how books can enlighten and enrich—just like this one.