“Pure Colour” by Sheila Heti Book Review and Details

About ten years ago, Sheila Heti, author of more than 10 books, including Maternity and How should a person be– decided to review the journals she had been keeping for years. Curious to know how she might have changed over time reflected in the diaries, she merged her writings into a single Excel document and organized the sentences alphabetically in an attempt to search for patterns that might help her answer that question. The final result, edited by Heti for aesthetic purposes and offered as a 10-part newsletter by The New York Times‘ Office of opinion, coincides with the beginnings of pure color, a dynamic and wonderful new novel by Heti in which a young woman named Mira goes to school and works in a lamp store while mourning the death of her father. For a brief moment, Mira’s consciousness joins hers inside a leaf, and together there they discuss art, time and death until Mira’s love for a woman named Annie make her back down. Like an orchid and the tree that serves as its host, Heti’s later works are epiphytic: meant to be considered together, they inhabit much of the same space, explore much of the same territory, but each of a different point of view. Both works find the author experimenting with form in order to make room for deep and complicated questions about life and all its mysteries.

Pure color: a novel

Now 12% off

I never wanted to keep a diary. In fact, I deliberately avoided it. It is, I admit, a strange confession for a writer to make, but diaries have always seemed to me if not a little sad (documenting all my regrets, sorrows and past stupidities? No, thank you!) and then dangerous ( so many of these little collections of confessions become public, and all their secrets with them).

Of course, my resistance to journaling was challenged many times, but I always remained impassive. When I asked writer Yiyun Li at a Zoom author event if she had any tips for writing during the pandemic and she responded by suggesting that I keep track of this time to come back later, I thought and appreciated his advice but ultimately couldn’t bring myself to move. After all, who wants to revisit the hardest times of their life or revisit those versions of themselves they worked so hard to leave behind? Wasn’t it more than enough to live with our memories of those times and our pasts?

More than
preview for Oprah Mag US - Entertainment Playlist

The entries in Heti’s diary project, shared with us like hundreds of secrets whispered softly in our ears, reveal how intimately we want to know the artists and ourselves.

In other words, they provide a way to get to know not only Heti better, but also ourselves.

Heti’s ingenious work – part of a long and vibrant tradition of writers keeping diaries, including Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka, Sylvia Plath and Alice Walker, to name a few – exposes many of his fears and concerns while exploring current and timeless questions about art, ambition, identity, love and relationships—Am I looking for someone to love? Am I wasting my time? Do we have to suffer until the end of the story? How does someone change their axis?– but most telling is his curiosity about what might happen if we looked at our logs – and ourselves – in a new way.

The entries reveal to us how intimately we want to know the artists and ourselves.

How, she seems to wonder, could we see each other and what could we learn if we did change our focus – if we let go of what we thought we knew and saw ourselves in a new light, unconnected to our past and the stories we’ve been telling ourselves for a long time?

We read other people’s diaries motivated by the delightful feeling of being privy to their secrets; if we are lucky, we leave with a new way of reconciling ours.

By presenting the lines of her diary out of order or, more precisely, outside the chronology in which each thought or question came to her, without obliterating the past, Heti removes the trap in which we so often fall of defining ourselves. by our past.

It’s fine, she seems to say, just to live.

It is normal not to understand everything.

How his work suggests that it can be refreshing and necessary to pause from time to time to reconsider our life stories, to dismantle those that may haunt us or do not serve us well, to see and acknowledge wholeness of who we are rather than berating us for what went wrong or what could have gone wrong.

In Reborn: Diaries and Notebooks, 1947-1963, readers meet Susan Sontag who reflects on her own journal writing experience: “In the journal, I don’t just express myself more openly than I could to anyone; I create myself.

According to Heti, we are all in the same boat.

We are all artists who create themselves again and again.

In a recent interview for The Guardian, she explains: “I never feel exposed because there is nothing in me that is not in you. All writing is about all of us, so I don’t feel like I’m saying anything that isn’t just about the human experience. Heti knows that she creates herself but recognizes that we also create ourselves. In the world of Heti, this self-creation or self-realization East art. We are all artists who create themselves again and again.

In his novel Pure Color, Heti seems to pick up where her journals leave off and go further by asking, “What if we were made in the image of a Creator, also an artist, who creates again and again?

In the book, which many reviewers have noted resists easy categorization and summary, Heti imagines a world that’s kind of a first draft made by a frustrated creator/artist.

In Heti’s diaries, readers find the author recoiling to take a look at his creation. In pure color, it is the Creator of the world who steps back to look at theirs. In both projects, Heti deliberately departs from many of the traditional structures and frameworks of fiction in order to make way for the exploration of some of life’s most intense and ineffable experiences – the kind of experiences that we all share but always find so difficult to integrate. words – like mourning or falling in love. It is here, where Heti breaks free from traditional structures and constraints, that her work seems to shift from esoteric to grounded.

Readers will find in Heti’s recent works the author living her own human experience as art: to suffer, to wonder, to fall in love, to wonder who she is and who she will be, to hope, to doubt, to change opinion, to wonder if she will ever find an answer. And with the freedom of the forms she has chosen, Heti allows herself to ask questions without the obligation to answer them. She just gives herself permission to be. This is what seems to bring it so close to one of the goals of so much realistic fiction: to tell truths about life, about human experience:

It is good to ask questions, to wonder and to reflect.

It’s normal not to have all the answers.

We are always in a state of becoming.

We can always look at ourselves in a new way.

We can tell a new story.

It’s okay not to understand everything; it’s human to keep trying.

Je Banach is the author of fiction, essays and more than 100 reading guides to works of world literature for publishing houses. A former recipient of the Connecticut Artist Fellowship for Fiction and the New Boston Fund Fellowship in Fiction, Banach was an original Yale Writers’ Workshop Fiction faculty member and longtime contributor to Harold Bloom’s Literary Series with Infobase Publishing. .

pure color

This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

Comments are closed.