The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits
Reviewed by Steven
Julavits appears here at BookPeople Tuesday, April 21 at 7pm.
The voice that Heidi Julavits cultivates in her prose is as fascinating to experience as it is fascinated by its subject. Her curiosity with the world indicates an unknown quantity hidden somewhere within the text or even external to the story that, rather than diminishing the narrative, makes it all the richer by demanding the participation of her audience. In The Folded Clock, she turns her attention on herself, documenting her life non-sequentially over the course of two years in her unique style of hyper-analytic, stream-of-consciousness storytelling.
After discovering a childhood diary, Heidi Julavits hoped to find nestled in its pages some kernel of the person she would someday become or, at least, a hint of literary aspiration. Instead, what she discovered was little more than a clinical list of adolescent goals tempered with an overriding desire simply to be liked by her peers. The Folded Clock is a reaction to the expectations of youth, chronicling the adult progress of a writer, mother, wife, and person in middle age.
In the tradition of diaries, The Folded Clock is brazenly confessional, necessarily self-involved, occasionally rambling, and steeped in nostalgia for the struggles of the past. These intimidatingly brilliant vignettes describe, through perpetual inquisitiveness and an obsession with culture on every scale, a woman searching through her life for evidence that she has lived it. This extraordinary diary weaves accidental but irrefutable aphorisms out of mundanity and imprecisely but perfectly encapsulates the examined human experience.
Heidi Julavits is the author of The Vanishers, The Uses of Enchantment, The Effect of Living Backwards, and The Mineral Palace. She is the coeditor, with Sheila Heti and Leanne Shapton, of the New York Times bestselling Women in Clothes. She is a contributor to Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, and The Best American Short Stories, and she is a founding editor The Believer.
Join us on Tuesday April 21st at 7:00 p.m., where Heidi Julavits will be speaking and signing copies of The Folded Clock. Like every BookPeople event, the reading is free to attend and open to all celebrants of Heidi Julavits. In order to have anything signed, just purchase a copy of The Folded Clock from BookPeople and bring yourself and a smile. This is certain to be an incredible experience, so be sure to pack a pen and paper. You’re definitely going to want to write about it in your diary.
Can’t make the event? You can pre-order signed copies of The Folded Clock via bookpeople.com.