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Author Joseph Harrington discusses amneoir, "Things Come On", live at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 12th
I love reading memoirs; although I have never been a history lover, there is something about the personal nature of a memoir that I can relate to. Memoirs have always been a blend of historical and personal in my mind, but in Harrington's latest book, "Things Come On", there has been a third, perhaps even fourth, dimension utilized that makes it a more difficult read. Still, it is well worth it.
Harrington has created the term 'amneoir' to describe an extremely personal account of the death of his mother, due to breast cancer, when he was twelve years old - he was ten when she was diagnosed. Set in the same time period as Watergate and the fall of the Nixon administration, Harrington weaves in and out of a distorted sense of reality. He mixes the investigation of Watergate and the Nixon administration with medical records, memories of his mother's diagnosis, and incidental, random happenings that stand out in the mind of a child during such a tragic loss.
Amneoir, a combining of amnesia with memoir, is a fitting term for such a tribute for Harrington's mother. Who hasn't found themselves blurring reality with fantasy and/or historical events during such profound emotional upheaval?
Harrington uses a unique blend of writing styles (referred to as multi-media, image-text, or transgenre), throughout. He incorporates not only prose and poetry, but documents, testimony and haunting drawings and diagrams.
"Things Come On", is THEE selection for your summer book club. It will take you back to poignant times you've experienced. Although it isn't a book you'll likely read in one setting; it is too profound and unsettling for that, you will absolutely want to read it, and then read it again.
Joseph will be on site from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. today to answer questions about his book, which can be purchased at The Raven (8 E. 7th Street), and Jayhawk Inc., in the Student Union. He will be reading selections from his book tomorrow, Wednesday, April 13th, at Jayhawk Ink (formerly Oread Books), level 2 of the Kansas Union, from 4:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., where you may purchase a book and have Joseph personalize it for you.
(Joseph Harrington is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of English, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas)