by Thea Brown
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Pub Date 15 May 2023 | Archive Date 02 Nov 2023
Northwestern University Press, Curbstone Books 2
In Loner Forensics, Thea Brown dreams up and dissects a city beset by unexplained disappearances, roving silences, and climate collapse. This sprawling collection comprises a series of interviews with denizens of the shifting city, each mediated through the lonely lens of the Detective, a character whose refractive investigation atomizes the scene. As much a study of complicity as a critique of capitalism’s distortive effects on human emotional response, Loner Forensics questions what happens when our innermost terrains become newly unfamiliar in an unraveling natural world.
Dark, fractured, and canny, Brown’s shimmering third collection draws on parallel universes, 1980s video games, social media pop-speak, and ghost towns to immerse the reader in grief, utopia, disaster—and, ultimately, love.
"You’ll likely find Thea Brown’s collection Loner Forensics shelved under poetry, but this book is something all its own: lyric noir, speculative elegy, private procedural. A story told through story’s negation ('The city is not a story'), here we feel we might glimpse Schrödinger’s cat gone stray, living out one of its lives off alley scraps in the intimate estrangement of the metropolis. While the chorus of voices builds a litany of delightfully dubious testimony out of postmodern materials—fragments of the attention economy, consumer culture, and so on—place (as in any good Gothic) is a crucial character as well: dangerous, endangered, and indelible. Alongside Brown and her Detective, we search for truth in the trappings, asking the big questions, like, well, 'What was the question?'” —Dora Malech, author of Flourish