Dark Waves and Light Matter
Albert Goldbarth's personal essays are known for their marriage of poetically rich language with research into intriguingly arcane corners of our ... Show synopsis Albert Goldbarth's personal essays are known for their marriage of poetically rich language with research into intriguingly arcane corners of our culture. "Goldbarth is a master mixer," says the "Village Voice," and the "New York Times Book Review" calls his prose "an artful joining of disparate entities into something new that illuminates as it entertains." "Dark Waves and Light Matter" is an energetic, eclectic gathering of Goldbarth's recent essays. They are part meditations and part short stories, part scholarship and part downright sassiness. A paean to 1950s comic book villains leads, through a visit with Charles Dickens, to a contemplation on the unity of the first day of Creation. Agatha Christie, Timothy Leary, and Pieter Brueghel all contribute equally to a consideration of how the unity of our lives is perforated by tiny moments of disjunction. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Wizard of Oz, and the "National Enquirer" unlock a study of patricide and UFOlogy. These essays look squarely at large, tough, all-encompassing ideas, but they don't ignore the small specifics that multiply into a day, for example, one "lone orchid pressed into an album; its oils have long past stained the paper around it translucent, a wimple of spectral sheen." Annie Dillard has said that Goldbarth's prose is "lively, brilliant, vivid, witty, and informed," and "Dark Waves and Light Matter" triumphantly confirms this assessment.