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One of the most cerebral books that I have read this year…
Author(s): Richard McGuire
Publisher: Pantheon Books (2014)
Age Rating: 13+
This is one that I’ve been dying to read for a few months now, but I have not found it on any book store shelf, and didn’t pull the trigger on ordering it online, but while at a meeting at the Barnes & Noble Cafe last Sunday, I ordered it from a store employee. I didn’t know this, but they brought back their program of ordering a book at the Barnes & Noble online price if it’s not in store, so I got this brilliant $35.00 book brand new, ordered to my B&N store, for just under $23.00. Pretty good deal! They are not paying me to tell you this, I swear. I like brick and mortar stores, and I’m afraid that if we do not find ways to support them, we will continue to rot in our own houses, buying everything on them inter-webs, watching cat and puppy videos, never actually talking to another human being.
This brings us to Here. A book about what happens over the course of millions of years in a specific location here on this planet, more specifically, here in America. The majority of the book gives us snapshots during the short period of time in which a house existed on the land, from around 1907 until about 2111. Each splash page has a year in the upper left-hand corner that tells the year of the background, but the pages are jumbled with smaller panels with years in their corners that give us multiple glimpses into the “here” spanning sometimes hundreds of centuries at one time.
Richard McGuire gives us a lot to think about. Halfway through the book I started wondering if I should have been writing down years, following family stories, looking for character connections between generations, and as I read on, I understood…that is not what this book is about.
This book is about exploring, experiencing, and understanding the fluidity of life. It’s one of those wonderful books that will hit each of us differently. I already understand how completely and utterly insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things, so the work’s reiteration of that theme comforts me. It may freak some of you out. Be prepared for a journey. And while you are reading this book, try to think about all of the things that have happened in the exact spot that you are reading. Heck, right now, think about all of the things that have happened in the exact spot that you read this post. What about all of the things that will happen in the exact spot you stand right now, hundreds of years after you have died. Will there still be guys sitting next to people, talking crap about a friend’s band? Will there still be big corporation sales people plotting marketing strategies for their new soda line? It’s fun to think about…and a bit scary. There will most likely be people standing in the exact spot you currently sit one hundred years from now. What are they wearing? What would they have thought of you? Have you done anything for them to remember you? Does it matter?
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