300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso

I’m having trouble writing this review and one of Manguso’s “arguments” (aka aphorisms) explains why:

29875902I like writing that is unsummarizable, a kernel that cannot be condensed, that must be uttered exactly as it is.

She succeeds, time and time again, at doing just that.  Some of the arguments are memorizable and I want to have them on the tip on my tongue, the same way I can spout ‘many hands make light work’ and ‘she who hesitates loses’ on command.

Worry is impatience for the next horror.

Happiness begins to deteriorate once it is named.

Others are slightly longer, sometimes funny, and no less true.

Every year it feels like a greater insult when a student arrives late with no excuse.  I’m going to die so many years before you do! I want to say, pointing to the clock.

The first beautiful songs you hear tend to stay beautiful because better than beauty, which is everywhere, is the memory of first discovering beauty.

300 Arguments a rarity, a book that you can re-re-re-re-re-read and never stop marveling.  Five awe-filled stars.

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