Jessica Bell's Reviews > In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets by Ann Carbine Best
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Jul 05, 11

Read from June 29 to July 05, 2011

This has to be one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read. Do not be fooled by the simple language. It is stark and honest and just ... amazing.

I like to think of this memoir as a ballad. If you are familiar with this form of poetry, you would know that the content is often tragic, they begin in the middle of conflict, they contain brief lyrical moments, and that they are condensed. They are so condensed that, if well-written, the language often seems to not portray any emotion at all, but when they are read, the imagery is so strong and raw, and violent in its exposure, that one is often left with goosebumps and struck with utter awe. This is how I felt reading this memoir.

I literally had to force myself to put this memoir down at night. There is so much tension and ache and sometimes desperation woven between the minimalism of Ann's prose. And you don't even have to look that deeply. It just seems to pop out at you when you least expect it and leave you feeling naked.

As a writer of literary fiction, who tends to embellish prose with lyrical content to squeeze the utmost emotion out of my scenes, I am so impressed with this book. And I can confidently say that Ann has taught me the power of simplicity. Raymond Carver introduced me to it. Ann Best justified its worth.

What a wonderful experience to read this book. Ann, I take my hat off to you.
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