NOTE BOOK by Jeff Nunokawa

NOTE BOOK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Literary-based reflections on and of the virtual age.

Nunokawa (English/Princeton Univ.), whose professional interests run the gamut from George Eliot and Henry James to Oscar Wilde (Tame Passions of Wilde: The Styles of Manageable Desire, 2003, etc.), here excerpts favorite musings on random topics that happened to cross his mind daily from August 2007 through July 2014. Over this time period, Nunokawa used Facebook’s notes feature to post a daily entry consisting of a title or inspirational quotation, a brief personal reflection, a footnote, and an accompanying photo, all with the aim of communicating “some version of ‘me’ to some version of ‘you,’ as near and far as the closest heart.” For example, “3095. ‘Why this overmastering need to communicate with others?’ / Virginia Woolf, ‘Montaigne’ / I used to think it was because I was good at it. Now I think it’s because it may be my only shot at being good.” Though not deeply wedded to their chronology, Nunokawa’s posts have both an episodic and journalistic feel to them. Though best read in several sittings, the collected notes convey an urgency for audience, whether it be through deep existential contemplation or identification of common interests like soccer and Joni Mitchell. Because Nunokawa is quite introspective and revelatory about the unusually public medium selected for his diarylike, more typically private enterprise, one takes at face value his somewhat Whitmanesque belief that “the loneliness at the heart of my project is not mine alone” but “the hunger for a feeling of connection” that “flows from a common break in a common heart.” Looking to befriend the reader yet not exactly open a conversation, Nunokawa draws one in with these temptingly lyric essays while resisting the larger buffers of narrative or explicit chronological context.

An engaging multimedia project offering even more food for thought when translated to the linearity of the printed page.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-691-16649-0
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Princeton Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2015




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