An Inventory of Losses

"Being alive means experiencing loss": the one necessarily entails the other according to author Judith Schlansky. We move on to the future while remembering the past, keeping it alive. This can be, paradoxically, both sad and joyful.

In each chapter Schlansky considers something that is irretrievably lost to the world, including the paradisal pacific island of Tuanaki, the Caspian Tiger, the Villa Sacchetti in Rome, Sappho's love poems, Greta Garbo's fading beauty, a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, and the former East Germany's Palace of the Republic - each explored through the conventions of a different genre.

Although the focus is loss and its aftermath, what is extraordinary is the thoroughly engaging mixture of intellectual curiosity, down-to-earth grasp of life's pitiless vitality, ironic humour, stylistic elegance and intensity of feeling that combine to make this an original and beautifully designed book.

Hardcover, 256 pages.
Measures 13.8 x 2.6 x 22 cm.


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