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The Melancholy of Anatomy: Stories (Anglais) Broché – 2 avril 2002

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There are hearts bigger than planets: black hearts that absorb light, hope, and dust particles, that eat comets and space probes. Motionless, sullen dirigibles, they hang in the empty space between galaxies. We can't see them, but we know they're there, fattening.

They give off a kind of light, but it is a backwards light that races inward away from the onlooker to hide itself from view, so this light, whose color we would so much like to know (maybe it's a color we haven't seen before, for which we must sprout new eyes), looks more like darkness than any ordinary darkness, and seems to suck the sight from our eyes, and make itself visible in the form of a blind spot.

Dark hearts, heavier than weight itself. Too heavy for reality to bear, they punch a hole in it, and sink through into the dream underneath. They throb dully at the bottom of a gravity well. We might sit by the side and drop a line, if we knew what kind of bait to use, but if we hooked the heart, could we lift it? And if the melancholy behemoth sounded of its own accord, bothered by our flies and sinkers, and we netted it, wouldn't it collapse on the deck, exhausted by its own gravity?

No, it is unkind to wrest these hearts out of hiding. Toss pennies in the hole, instead. Dump a martini off the poop of the spaceship, blow a kiss through a porthole and clear off, friend.

The heart warps everything around it. Where nothing is, emptiness itself is twisted, its features distorted beyond all recognition. This is why people rail against the heart. It is bad enough to change everything that is, but when nothingness itself is altered, something must be done.

If we hold ourselves still, at the moment the year turns over, we can feel a faint beat. That is the black heart continuing its patient, serious work. What work? I am trying to find out. I have given my life to observing the hearts. Observing, of course, is the wrong word for the patient cultivation of blind spots, for trying to understand, by the ways in which, yes, I do not understand, what the heart is. In this investigation, invisibility is evidence, blindness the closest I may come to insight, the particular shape and tenor of ignorance, a clue and a scripture. When I can no longer see anything, I will know I am face to faceless with the heart. What, I sit at my telescope, straining my neck, my fingers numb claws, in hopes of catching sight of nothing at all? Yes. I will know it when I don't see it.

Is it right to call by the same name the tiny, ruby red "hearts" children dig up in the garden? Those rubbery knots, the size of crab apples, that bounce so high but so erratically, shoot off in unexpected directions, are forever being fished from under sofas and on top of bookshelves? That let out a squeak when rubbed? It's true that as they roll through the strict formations--parallel lines, rings, spirals--of children's games they sometimes resemble gay little planets, comets, and asteroids. But where is the pity, the mystery in these toys?

I do know of a rare game played in certain valleys in the Appalachians (its reach is tied to the vicissitudes of one or two family lines) in which one piece is chosen by lot as the Black Heart and plays a different role in the game than the others. As in other games, you must win as many hearts as you can. You must not take the Black Heart, however, or all the points you have won count against you. If you capture it by accident, you must try to force someone else to take it from you.

There is one other strategy. If, at the end of the game, you have lost all your hearts, including your shooter, and hold only the Black Heart in your pot, you collect all the hearts everyone else has won. A dangerous way to win, to seek a perfect loss. I have come to look on this game as a parable, in which all the secrets of the Black Heart are revealed.

Revue de presse

"Witty, multilayered, and beautifully written : a startling and memorable collection." —Ali Smith, author of Hotel World

"These tales prance and pirouette along the edge of the surreal. Sometimes they dive directly in, to bring back a sense of elegance, rightness, and great wisdom."—Samuel R. Delany, author of Dhalgren

"Shelley Jackson is a gifted writer . . . who, very playfully, very disturbingly, takes the body apart and puts it back together again, always in startlingly imaginative ways. These tales of the anatomy's ludicrous sorrows are deliciously crafted, maintaining always a fine balance between outrageous comedy and profound melancholy. She is . . . one of the most poised and original talents of her generation." —Robert Coover, author of Pricksongs & Descants

"She erases the boundaries between body and self, secretion and shedding, love and loathing, enveloping the reader in a slippery, icky, fascinating world." —The Village Voice Literary Supplement

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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5 9 commentaires
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Absolutely Incredible 14 février 2016
Par Kayla - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The Melancholy of Anatomy is hands down my favorite book in the entire world. It describes humanity in the most honest way I have ever seen, through a provocative set of hauntingly bizarre short stories. The stories in this text land on a scale between sweet and innocuous, to downright repulsive. The language used in this book heartfelt, raw, and even seductive at times. I do not have enough good things to say about this book. Although I do not consider The Melancholy of Anatomy a must read for everyone, simply because it is very unusual, I strongly recommend you at least check it out if you're looking for an experience unlike anything else.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly Recommended 2 juillet 2010
Par E. Katz - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Writing in general is a way to express opinions and emotions; it's an art in itself with little in the form of limitations. It is something that anyone can do but each time will turn out unique to the writer, reflecting them. It is almost like they art bottling up their minds and pouring them out onto paper, a window into the writer's mind laid bare for it's readers to interpet. I myself see writing as something to appreciate; creative and striking at times, while capable of horrifying and bringing forth a certain level of disgust. It is something incredibly powerful in terms of emotions and capabilities. In each story this author expressed different and very distinctive emotions about friendship, family, love, hate and jealousy among other things. I found myself going back to reread passages and several stories not out of confusion but to let the deep nature of the pieces sink in some more.

The abstract style and approach to each situation Jackson takes constantly kept me attentive while at the same time utterly captivated. She personifies the beauty found within the human mind. The mind is capable of undeniably astonishing feats as well as incredible wickedness and complexity. It's an amazing thing unique to every being. People complain about the style of this author being difficult to follow, but if you are accustomed to the more creative approaches/styles of writing there should be no issue. If your new to it just keep an open mind and analyze each piece as a whole rather than parts. It's supposed to bring forth thoughts of your own, which is one of the many qualities that make this book so amazing in the first place!

(Think of Windows vs. Linux OS's here. Windows is easier to use because everything is done automatically for you while Linux is more hands on and requires some creativity on the part of the user. Windows doesn't leave much comfort room or personal levels of satisfaction, Linux possesses both but more time and effort. Personally, those having issues with this author's style simply don't take the time to really appreciate it for what it is.)
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Boring and terrible! 9 février 2017
Par Mary - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
After the first 20 pages, I quit reading and put it in my "Donate" pile. Terrible!
0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 erudite 12 février 2013
Par Sam - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
While I really enjoyed most of the stories, some of them went way over my head. A little too erudite, which made it difficult to connect with the characters, but overall, I'm glad I tackled this book.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Absolutely Remarkable 21 mars 2004
Par Leah Berk - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Shelley Jackson really knows how to do it, and this book is a keen demonstration of her literary abilties. She pulls off a gutsy fictitious romp through the four humors, both entertaining the reader and airing her wonderous ability to write. All at once, her writing is hopeful and dreary, unsettling, yet so comfortable, one could wrap oneself in it. Definitely, this is one of the most interesting books - both in premise and execution - that I have ever read.
This book is arguably nothing more than an exercise in experimental fiction. It will not fly off the shelves, and it will not be a best seller. Rather, it is a gem which will be ignored by most, disliked by many, and loved by few.
Jackson, here, portrays various parts of the body in environments which they are not usually found. A large foetus arrives in a town, looming overhead in an enormous fashion. From this viewpoint, it partakes in the activities of the town, serving as a pastor and -- remarkably -- as a sort of guiding light.
"Egg" is another story which I personally enjoyed. There is bleeding symbolism, and in some respects (throughout the book), heavy handed metaphors. Despite this, though, "Egg" is, for me, the most interesting story in the book. Jackson tells of an egg from a woman's tear duct which grows larger and larger. Throughout the story, Jackson punctuates her writing with a sort of omniscient commentary - it is witty and cynical - an easter egg found in this literary scape.
Overall, this book is well worth the while of anyone who loves to read something slightly offbeat, darkly humorous, and definitely interesting. It is an enjoyable romp through the parts of the human body, a romp which is playful and disturbing all at once. Really superb.
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