The Unreality of Memory: And Other Essays

The Unreality of Memory: And Other Essays

"Terror, disaster, memory, selfhood, happiness . . . leave it to a poet to tackle the unthinkable so wisely and so wittily."* A literary guide to life in the pre-apocalypse, The Unreality of Memory collects profound and prophetic essays on the Internet age’s media-saturated disaster coverage and our addiction to viewing and discussing the world’s ills.

We stare at our phones. We keep multiple tabs open. Our chats and conversations are full of the phrase “Did you see?” The feeling that we’re living in the worst of times seems to be intensifying, alongside a desire to know precisely how bad things have gotten—and each new catastrophe distracts us from the last.

The Unreality of Memory collects provocative, searching essays on disaster culture, climate anxiety, and our mounting collective sense of doom. In this new collection, acclaimed poet and essayist Elisa Gabbert explores our obsessions with disasters past and future, from the sinking of the Titanic to Chernobyl, from witch hunts to the plague. These deeply researched, prophetic meditations question how the world will end—if indeed it will—and why we can’t stop fantasizing about it.

Can we avoid repeating history? Can we understand our moment from inside the moment? With The Unreality of Memory, Gabbert offers a hauntingly perceptive analysis of our new ways of being and a means of reconciling ourselves to this unreal new world.

"A work of sheer brilliance, beauty and bravery.” *—Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less

Title:The Unreality of Memory: And Other Essays
ISBN:9780374538347
Format Type:

    The Unreality of Memory: And Other Essays Reviews

  • julieta

    I loved this book! I hadn't read Gabbert, and knew nothing about her, and I found her way of thinking and following those thoughts provoking and just brilliant. This is just great essay writing and wi...

  • Vincent Scarpa

    A fucking phenomenal collection of essays from one of the most engaging and perceptive thinkers I’ve ever come across. I’m a Gabbert completist and I think this is her best book yet. So, egg on yo...

  • Basia

    4.5. This will be a lasting book. Sure, Elisa Gabbert's essay on the next pandemic, published almost two years before our current global sickness, left me windswept and chilled. But so did Gabbert's e...

  • Sarah

    I devoured this.rtc...

  • Sam Glatt

    An absolutely mindblowing collection of essays that I started at 5:30am on the front stoop of my apartment and finished at 3:30pm in my bedroom. I don't remember the last time I was so truly taken by ...

  • Maya Sophia

    Just an absolutely fantastic collection of essays. I loved how it was written, I loved how Gabbert synthesized so many different disciplines, and her arguments were clear and well supported. I find th...

  • Mary

    It’s so unfortunate that the release date of Elisa Gabbert’s collection of essays “The Unreality of Memory” is August 11, 2020, because as I was reading the ARC in March 2020, I never felt so ...

  • Matt

    What pretty much every review has said about this book, that it feels borderline prescient, doesn't quite do it justice. To poorly paraphrase from Don Delillo's Paris Review interview, when he was ask...

  • Tessy Consentino

    It’s like these essays were written just for me. ...

  • Chad

    Fantastic group of essays focusing on our cultural obsession with disasters; climate anxiety; compassion fatigue; and mostly, how we live in a day and age where social media doomscrolling has taken ov...