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Disparates

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Member Reviews

Disparates: Essays by Patrick Madden is a wonderful collection of essays, or maybe essayistic pieces. Form, as well as content, is both playful and played with. The book descriptions mention taking some of the seriousness out of the perception of the essay form. While true, it also illustrates that serious and playful are neither opposites nor mutually exclusive.

I think many essays, or at least what we expect from many essays, is something that is both personal and to some extent conclusive, even if that conclusion is that there is no definitive answer. In other words, we still think of an essay as similar to what we all wrote in school, something that ultimately argues or illustrates a point or a stand on something. What I found refreshing here was that even more than usual these essays invited, and at times insisted, that the reader walk part of the path. Maybe even beyond where Madden the essayist stopped. This is the next step beyond simply thought-provoking. This is thought generating. It seems at times he starts making a point or expressing an idea (often abstractly) only to question himself and finally to leave it to us to follow through. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean in the sense of simply deserting the reader. We still have a very good idea where he continued after the essay, but we are offered the opportunity to follow or find our own path through our own interpretations of his observations.

I realize that I probably sound confusing in the previous paragraph, or at least confused. That is not the case. I just can't really put into words what I feel these essays accomplished that is different from what many other wonderful essay collections have accomplished. So the disconnectedness is all on me, not within the book itself. Look at it this way: the book succeeded in making me think enough that even a few days after finishing the book I am still working through what I read and how I feel about it. I love books that do that. A book that stops acting on me the second I stop physically acting on the book might be enjoyable but is a temporary dalliance. This is something that is becoming a part of who I am and how I think. Maybe a small part, but at my age there is only room left for small changes.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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Patrick Madden shows himself to be a master of form in Disparates. There is much to appreciate in this book.
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An interesting read, short stories/essays that income more thought than just reading.
From auctioning a celebrity's used water bottle to an essay in the form of a word search, I was intrigued the entire read.
Only start this book if you have time to put it down often to consider WTF you just read, in the best way possible.
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