A brief but complex and personal discussion of metaphysical interpretations.

The Deja Vu Experiment

This meditation on metaphysical topics also serves as a tribute to the author’s late wife.

In this short book on spirituality and metaphysics, Renato jumps from personal experience to the texts of major religions to scientific discoveries to art as he explains how his wife, Diana, who passed away in her late 60s, introduced him to new ways of thinking. The concept of déjà vu is defined here as a matter of “gaps” in time and space, or as the author explains, “just as the Deconstructionists use gaps…to begin to explore the truth or ultimate reality behind a text, so too can these gaps in the space and time of the physical universe be used to follow Alice down the rabbit hole, so to speak.” After explaining how Diana encouraged him to re-evaluate his view of the world by developing a different understanding of reality, Renato draws on everything from René Magritte’s paintings to Zen koans to verses from the New Testament to explain his concept of the universe. The theme of light is one of Renato’s driving concepts, and he connects the idea of halos to the Impressionists’ representations of light and Einstein’s discoveries related to the properties of light. At times, the book takes on a memoirlike tone, as Renato shares events from his own life, many of which seem to have a fantastic element to them: “I started to become caught up in my own fame. I started to take pride in the apocryphal stories I had heard about me, no matter how far from the truth they were.” In certain moments, readers might be left wondering whether Renato is telling his own story or whether Diana and the unnamed narrator are instead fictional characters. In the end, Renato’s devotion to Diana—“Now, with help from Diana, I can look, I can see. I can be a good guy again”—seems to be just as important as the metaphysical concepts.

A brief but complex and personal discussion of metaphysical interpretations.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0989718615

Page Count: 97

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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