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The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories Hardcover – Feb 15 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 121 pages
  • Publisher: Seagull Books (Feb. 15 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857420127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857420121
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #823,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"[A] thought-provoking collection—some of these stories may, indeed, be more successful as failures than if they had been completed. And The Loss Library is also a truly lovely book (as object)."

(M.A. Orthofer, The Complete Review)

“I couldn't resist the allure of Ivan Vladislavic’s book of might-have-beens, and now that I’ve finished it, I am totally charmed by its originality and elegance.”

(Christopher Reid, author of A Scattering and The Song of Lunch)

"Ivan Vladislavic writes with a passion about his subjects that incites concision. With the thematic unity he's established, we come to see his assemblage of personal losses as part of wider losses of art throughout history, though he never says so. Thus, this odd book accrues a richness at having covered both personal and historical ground within the territory of the author's mind."
(Matthew Jakubowski The National)

The Loss Library is a beautifully made book. Illustrations by Sunandini Bannerjee are tipped into the opening pages of chapters—their distortions, suggestions and incompletions complement the author’s intent and style. There is a sly slightness to the book, an airiness that inspires wonder about the elusive narratives all around us.”
(Ron Slate On The Seawall)

About the Author

Ivan Vladislavic is the author of The Folly, The Restless Supermarket, The Exploded View and Double Negative. Sunandini Banerjee is an editor, translator, and graphic designer who lives and works in Calcutta.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa0b6aa50) out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa14a2ad4) out of 5 stars Writing about what cannot be written Sept. 25 2013
By ANNE - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful insight into the writer's mind. It really is an "extraordinary book about both the nature of novels and the process of writing" to quote the dust-jacket. The honesty and clarity of Ivan's writing never fails to inspire me. Reading of his wrestlings with ideas and with characters or plots that will not settle down into novels is very informative and something not many writers ever share; a writer can learn from a master how to hone their craft.

Besides being beautifully and carefully written account of decisions made and expeditions into story abandoned, The Loss Library is a work of art in its own right. Each of the "stories" is different: some are dreamlike and surreal – like the Loss Library itself, others pragmatic and ironic. Some cast light on earlier fiction by Vladislavic who is surely one of the best writers living in South Africa at the moment.

The final paragraph says it all: "Not writing is always a relief and sometimes a pleasure. Writing about what cannot be written, by contrast, is the devil's own job. Yet words on a page make all things possible. Any line, even this one, may be a place to begin." Thank you again, Ivan for a unique book.