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The Bewilderments of Bernard Willis [Paperback]

Aaron Peck , Beth Follett
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 15 2008

Bernard Willis was an archivist at work in a residency at Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts when he mysteriously disappeared. Two unnamed people, lovers, find Willis's manuscript-in-progress and decide to prepare it for publication. The editors aver that Willis was attempting to live, and write, in a perpetual state of bewilderment. They invite the reader to consider the mystery of his sudden disappearance.

Part novel, part meditation on the role of reading and language in culture, The Bewilderments of Bernard Willis considers how each of us tries to make sense and meaning in a bewildering world. Aaron Peck's innovative style employs those of a number of genres, from short stories and anecdotes, scholarship and belles lettres, to etymologies and digressions, with little or no paragraph breaks, engaging in topics ranging from contemporary art and architectural theory to politics, friendship, belief and love. Characters—friends, lovers, even the protagonist himself—come and go, quivering, as Flaubert once said of sentences, "like leaves in a forest, all dissimilar in their similarity."

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About the Author

Aaron Peck was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and now lives in Vancouver BC, after some years of academic residency in Toronto and New York City. He is an editor at both the on-line Doppelganger Magazine and the literary press, Greenboathouse Books, which publishes beautiful handmade books in limited edition. This is his debut novel.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avant-garde mystery Nov. 29 2010
By W.
In the midst of reading The Bewilderments of Bernard Willis, I felt like I wanted the book to go on forever. The streams of both consciousness and history move in such a satisfying way--one that juxtaposes beautifully with the fact that the novel itself remains productively open. Everything is a fascinating sidebar, and the centre, as it must, recedes to mere shading. A nuanced and wondrous debut.
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