Book Review: A Walden State of Mind

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The title of Mark Slouka’s latest book is cribbed from Thoreau, and the spirit of that old Concord crank is a palpable presence throughout these 12 wide-ranging essays. Whether Slouka is writing about a scrap of bloodstained cloth from Hitler’s couch, the attacks of 9/11, or communication in the age of e-mail, his real subject is modern consciousness and its attempts to make sense of an inventory of affronts that include “transgressions on the territory of private memory,” “acts of metaphysical trespass,” and the “colonization of silence.”

This article first appeared in the January-February 2011 issue of Utne Reader.

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