‘These Possible Lives’ by Fleur Jaeggy

Alan Kitchen at The Quarterly Conversation:

Consider Oliver Munday’s striking cover for These Possible Lives, one of the slim, sharp, dark works of Swiss/Italian author Fleur Jaeggy. The tile motif, bearing eight gray, equal segments from historical portraits of the book’s subjects, is immediately captivating; one glimpses mouths and eyes, poignant gazes into a mercurial unknown, or unsettling direct eye contact that seems to say, there are truths within this small book, but whose truth may they be? This obfuscation is furthered by Munday’s decision to create a ninth tile without image, choosing instead a tilted red box containing that imprecise, strange word, “Essays.” I pick up the book, read the title, These Possible Lives, and think to myself, what is possible about historically recorded lives. A simple red backslash wants to point me down, to the broken mosaic of possibility below, however, I realize red warns, and the indirect backslash conveys hesitation. This cover does a wonderful job trying to dissuade one from any clear preconceptions of the text within, while equally stoking my intense curiosity.

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