Reviewed by Sarah Gerard
Just forty-three pages in total, Morelia feels expansive. The telescoping structure of the narrative is one reason. In its early pages, the story regularly slips into and opens the parallel realm of the narrator’s dream, which may be real. Renee Gladman expertly pivots on a word or phrase, such that the dream and the reality of the story, as well as a book the narrator reads, are contiguous. The dream and the book are fictional worlds rendering the world in which the narrator moves factual by comparison. Or perhaps this pivoting simply calls attention to the way in which we regularly, as readers, regard fiction as fact; how the line between fact and fiction is arbitrary…
Review by Sarah Gerard
For six months in his eighteenth year, Gerald Murnane believed he would be a priest. He’d attended mass with his family every Sunday since he was small and was much affected by his Catholic upbringing; he considered himself to be a very spiritual person and had even experienced, on a few occasions, what he describes as a “religious fervor.” But in 1957, Murnane had an awakening. He realized that even the greatest fervor of Sunday masses gave scant inspiration to the vibrant inner world engendered by his lifelong fascination with horseracing. In his memoir published nearly six decades later, Something for the Pain: A memoir of the turf, he traces the unique path of his artistic and spiritual development through the lens of the sport, and in so doing creates a singular and intimate glimpse into the life of a famously private writer . . .