EYES, ETC.: A Memoir by Eleanor Clark
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EYES, ETC.: A Memoir

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If I need lies to cheer me, I'll take gloom."" Eleanor Clark began these intimate jottings when her eyesight failed and matters seemed ""up for redefinition."" With outright disdain for theories of adjustment--settling is unthinkable--she undertakes a page a day (art tablet and magic marker), reflecting on contemporary ailments in a lean, resonant prose. Evenings, family and friends read Homer aloud, and she bounces the classical sensibility against present-day character in unforced contrast. Intent on KOFU (keeping out from underfoot), missing her magazines, feeling a ""violent ambivalence"" for her ""aids,"" she continues to record and enlarge upon modern ambiguities and private fates, noting that Achilles expected ""to be struck down by a proper antagonist."" A mourned mugging victim, a friend's unbearable daughter, the ""Tidies"" down the road, a tycoon at the ski lift--all are incorporated into her prismatic musing as the neighborhood endures a high turnover in ALS (Alternate Life Style) adherents. Cool offhand observations develop into personal themes and memory introduces favorites from other homes, other summers; authenticity is valued, integrity prized. ""Am I getting used to it? But I don't want to!"" With a moose (from a family joke) for a metaphor and a royal contempt for sociologists, this is an indelible register of conviction and reckoning, by the estimable author of The Oysters of Locmariaquer.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1977
Publisher: Pantheon