There’s no escape in Amparo Dávila’s fiction. None. Even when characters do escape physically, well, events shatter them mentally. Characters are trapped with demonic children, confronted by doppelgangers, stalked by murderous creatures, and, most insidiously, warped by their own ginned-up, misguided beliefs: those unsettling beliefs that assert, menacingly, You’re in danger.
Here is what biographers and historians tell us: in 1506, the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II invited Michelangelo Buonarroti, a thirty-one-year-old Florentine artist, to Constantinople to design a bridge. The bridge would cross the Golden Horn with the purpose of connecting the eastern and western shores of the Bosporus, the legendary strait that divides Constantinople and connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
Read though a few interviews with Christine Schutt and at one point or another, in one way or another, she will say that when it comes to writing, she goes to “uncomfortable places.”
Many of the essays in “Not to Read” are about discovery and a love of reading and of books — the book-ness of books, the joy of admiring them, travelling with them, handling them, and, of course, reading them, and not reading them.