Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tuesday Intro: The Folded Clock

                                                                                                              June 21 
Today I wondered What is the worth of a day?  Once, a day was long. It was bright and then it wasn't, meals happened, and school happened, and sports practice, maybe, happened, and two days from this day there would be a test, or an English paper would be due, or there would be a party for which I'd been waiting, it would seem, for years. Days were ages. Love bloomed and died in a day. Rages flared and were forgotten and were replaced by new rages, also forgotten. Within a day there were discernible hours, and clocks with hands that ticked out each new minute. I would think, Will this day never end?  By nightfall, I'd feel like a war had been fought. I was wounded; sleep was not enough to heal me. Days would linger in my nerves, aftershocks registered on the electrical plain. Days made a physical impact. Days could hurt.
The Folded Clock: A Diary
by Heidi Julavits

A few of my library holds came in last week, including this book, which has surprised me... first the physical beauty of the hardcover edition (I may want one of my own) and then the beauty of the opening entry. I haven't seen many reviews yet, but I really like writing style and am hopeful it will continue like this. It seems like a book to read slowly, maybe a few entires per day.

Here is the goodreads summary:
Like many young people, Heidi Julavits kept a diary. Decades later she found her old diaries in a storage bin, and hoped to discover the early evidence of the person (and writer) she’d since become. Instead, "The actual diaries revealed me to possess the mind of a paranoid tax auditor." The entries are daily chronicles of anxieties about grades, looks, boys, and popularity. After reading the confessions of her past self, writes Julavits, "I want to good-naturedly laugh at this person. I want to but I can't. What she wanted then is scarcely different from what I want today." 
 Thus was born a desire to try again, to chronicle her daily life as a forty-something woman, wife, mother, and writer. The dazzling result is The Folded Clock, in which the diary form becomes a meditation on time and self, youth and aging, betrayal and loyalty, friendship and romance, faith and fate, marriage and family, desire and death, gossip and secrets, art and ambition. Concealed beneath the minute obsession with “dailiness” are sharply observed moments of cultural criticism and emotionally driven philosophical queries.  In keeping with the spirit of a diary, the tone is confessional, sometimes shockingly so, as the focus shifts from the woman she wants to be to the woman she may have become.  
 Julavits's spirited sense of humor about her foibles and misadventures, combined with her ceaseless intelligence and curiosity, explode the typically confessional diary form.  The Folded Clock  is as playful as it is brilliant, a tour de force by one of the most gifted prose stylists in American letters.
What do you think? Would you keep reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

54 comments:

  1. I like the concept but just not sure from the first paragraph. I'd have to read more. LOVE the cover.

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    1. Beth F - The cover is even more beautiful than the photo.. love the blue endpapers, too!

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  2. The writing is different, but i liked it and that cover so pretty. I have read this author once before and think I liked the book, so I would definitely read more. enjoy

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    1. Diane - I've never read the author before and look forward to continuing with this book.

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  3. I've been super curious about this and haven't seen to many reviews of it, so I'm glad to see you're considering it!

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    1. Shannon - I was looking for reviews on goodreads, but couldn't find much there. Wish I could remember where I even heard about this one...

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  4. The cover is beautiful! I like the first paragraph but it does get a little wordy so I think it'd be a good one to read in small doses so that it doesn't get to be too much. Enjoy!

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    1. Katherine - Yes, I think small doses would be the perfect way to read this book. Maybe two or three entires in a sitting. We'll see how it goes.

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  5. I agree with Katherine. Love the cover but the words are a bit heavy.

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    1. Vicki - This book is so beautiful... really want to own a copy myself!

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  6. A different and very interesting premise, and I love the insight of the opening paragraph. I'm going to see if my library has this book.

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    1. Catherine - I just loved the insight, too... definitely makes me want to continue.

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  7. As I was reading the first paragraph, I was thinking that it sounded like the life of a teenager. After reading the description, I guess it isn't, but love blooming and dying in a day and the same for rages. Sounds like the mood swings of teens. I'm intrigued by the description, but am not sure. :-)

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    1. Kay - I do think she is talking about her teens in this paragraph. The second paragraph continues:
      "Not anymore. The "day" no longer exists. The smallest unit of time I experience is the week. But in recent years the week, like the penny, has also become a uselessly small currency..."

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  8. I had to return this to the library, but I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts. What made you pick this book up?

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    1. Vasilly - I wish I could remember where I read about this book, but it must have been on a blog. The diary format is appealing, and I like the idea of this being a non-linear diary.

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  9. I love the cover. I'm not familiar with this author, and I like the opening. Adding this to my reading list!

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    1. Monica - This is my first experience with this author, too, but I love the way she writes.

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  10. Just reading your intro and the description of the book makes me want to start journaling again. My 4 year old found my old childhood diaries the other day and they're pretty pathetic. LOL (My 4 year old had no interest in them, by the way, she was exploring my dresser drawers for the sake of exploring).

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    1. Literary Feline - I haven't kept a journal in years, but this book could very well inspire me!

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  11. This is such a great idea for a book! Because everyone does at least attempt writing a diary at some point and reading it back is so awkward that it's bound to make an interesting book! Thanks for sharing :) I hope you have a great week!
    My Tuesday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

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    1. Juli - My old journals probably read a lot like what she describes, lol. I think this will be an interesting book.

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  12. I am intrigued by the premise....and yes, I want to keep reading. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I like following her thought pattern.. so far this is very good.

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  13. I'm not sure about this one - I'd need to see more before deciding whether to read it.

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    1. BookPlease - This doesn't seem like a book to sit and read in a few sittings... small doses may be better.

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  14. I love the cover and the blurb too! So different, and lyrical writing. Thanks, I would definitely read this if I see it in my library!

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    1. Rita - I really liked the first entry... hope it continues to hold my interest.

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  15. I agree with you JoAnn. Just that one day's entry makes me want to read more and know who is writing the diary. It's lovely, the way she writes. The cover is beautiful. Yes, I'd like to read more.

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    1. Margot - And that's not even the whole entry! I definitely want to know about what she's thinking though.

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  16. Interesting! I kinda like the ruminations in that first paragraph, I think we all feel that way sometimes- what happened to the days when a day lasted forever? Of course they didn't but sure seemed like it. :) I would keep reading, I think. Nice teaser.

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    1. Greg - I remember feeling like that when I was in grade school and high school. Her second paragraph goes on to say:

      "Not anymore. The "day" no longer exists. The smallest unit of time I experience is the week. But in recent years the week, like the penny, has also become a uselessly small currency..."

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  17. This sounds really good! I love the premise (if I'd kept a diary when I was young, it would probably read just like she mentioned!) and love the opening paragraph. I'll look out for your review of this one.

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    1. Sarah - I have a diary from college days that I'm almost afraid to read (because I think I'll sound ridiculous). This is off to a good start... think there will be plenty of food for thought!

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  18. This sounds like the kind of book I adore. The writing in the opening captured me--so artful. I'd definitely keep reading.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

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  19. Sandra - Artful is the perfect word to describe that writing. Looking forward to another entry (or two) tonight!

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  20. I LOVE that cover! I think I'll see about sampling this one and checking my library to see if it is available. The Goodreads synopsis looks very good.

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    1. Kathy - The picture doesn't really do the cover justice. It is a gorgeous book!

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  21. It has been awhile since I've reread my teenage diaries! Enjoy reading this unique sounding book.

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    1. Nise' - I keep thinking I need to reread mine and then destroy them ;-)

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    1. Yvonne - I look forward to reading more of this book.

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  23. I have a thing about diaries so I would really enjoy this one - thanks for sharing.

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  24. This seems like such a creative and interesting concept. The book sounds like it has so much potential. Going back and visiting ones younger self in such a way is such an appealing idea.

    I agree about the writing in the paragraph that quoted. It is very good.

    I look forward to your comments when you finish reading this.

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    1. Brian Joseph - I sure hope the rest of the book lives up to that potential. The nonlinear diary format is very appealing to me!

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  25. Yeah I liked the first entry. Diaries reads are hard to stop, are they not?

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    1. Thecuecard - Diaries are incredibly addicting!

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    1. Thecuecard - I haven't gotten back to this book yet, but I plan to :)

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  27. I think that I have to think about this one!

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    1. Patty - Not much plot here, and a nonlinear timeline... think I'll have to concentrate on this one. I do like the writing though!

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  28. This is one book I am dying to read. So I cannot wait to hear what you think. Once I am through the three books I am currently reading plus two other review books, I hope to get to this one.

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    1. Athirs - I've spent most of my reading time this week on The Story of a New Name and haven't gotten back to this book yet. There are other holds on it, so I may end up buying a copy of my own. It is a beautiful book.

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