On Looking: Essays
“Purpura is the real deal, and so is every successive sentence in this collection. A cornucopiac vocabulary is married to a strict economy of expression; an offbeat curiosity is married to the courage of difficult witnessing. . . .”—Albert Goldbarth
“Purpura's prose is a system of delicate shocks—leaps and connections and syncopated revelations, all in the service of the s
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Makes me wonder whether there is a point at which self-awareness becomes a detriment. As a narrative strategy, definitely.
Nevertheless, I don't mean to speak much harshly about this book. The essays are (mostly) woven delicately, and bring the world to sharp focus around Purpura's shifting center within observation of it.
Not li ...more
Low points: Several essays in this collection focus on macabre details, understandable if these were experiences that the author personally dealt with, but they aren't. It is as if she has chosen to draw out and set her gaze upon the morbidity of life, going so far as to visit a s ...more
Purpura's main conceit is suggested by the title: On Looking. The notion of seei ...more
Purpura's grasp of observation is stunning - she notices the way animals are beautifully crushed by cars, how plastic grocery bags caught on a ...more