Arias, Choruses, Lullabies, Follies, Dirges, and a Duet

Michael Martone

An inventive collection of essays that speak from many platforms


"Michael Martone’s effervescent new book is witty, whimsical, wise, and a little wicked. His short musings form an engaging intellectual and artistic memoir as Martone writes about everything from the school debate team to his favorite movies, the nature of keys, and the deaths of his parents. At once erudite and plainspoken, Brooding draws us in with Martone’s wry curiosity. His chapters are written as poetry, essays, koans, and tweets. This quirky, enlightening book will have you thinking differently about everything from hats to railroads to coffee to Captain Kangaroo. What a treat."
—Valerie Miner, author of Traveling with Spirits and The Low Road

"Court jester, philosopher, provocateur, smarty pants: Michael Martone, is this allowed? You have a glorious and weird brain, and you don’t seem to care who knows it. Brooding on your Brooding makes me glorious and weird too, makes me glad that this world has all the books in the world, and just when we think we have what we need, you go and pull a stunt like this. Thank God."
—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

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This collection of more than twenty-five essays, both meditative and formally inventive, considers all kinds of subjects: everyday objects such as keys and hats, plus concepts of time and place; the memoir; writing; the essay itself; and Michael Martone’s friendship with the writers David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and Kurt Vonnegut. Throughout the essays, Martone’s style expands with the incorporation of new technological platforms. Several of the pieces were written specifically for online venues, while the essays on the death of Martone’s mother and father were written on Facebook while the events happened. One essay about using new technologies in the classroom was written solely in tweets.

Brooding—the book’s title and the title of an essay—draws a parallel between the disappearance of early browsers and the emergence, after seventeen years, of a brood of cicadas. Throughout these essays Martone’s words inhabit spaces where the reconnection to people in the past and the metaphors of electronic memory converge.

Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction

Page count: 208 pp.
33 b&w images
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $24.95

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Michael Martone is a professor of English at the University of Alabama. He is the author of several books, including The Flatness and Other Landscapes, Unconventions: Attempting the Art of Craft and the Craft of Art, and Racing in Place (all Georgia). His stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, Story, Antaeus, North American Review, Benzene, Epoch, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, Third Coast, Shenandoah, BOMB, and other magazines.