Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review of The French Exit

Hello, hello, from El Paso, Texas. There's a very lovely new review of The French Exit in MAKE Mag, which was such a nice surprise, since I kind of figured there would be no more reviews, the book being well over a year old now. A bit from the review:

Like the title, many of these poems employ a sly brand of humor to temper the painfulness of goodbyes, though Gabbert’s cleverness and wit belie the seriousness of her project; at its heart, this collection is a relentless examination of exits and all that comes after them—memory, nostalgia, longing, questioning, regret. But close examinations of such hazy realms prove necessarily difficult for this poet, and so like the cover-woman’s face, many of Gabbert’s poems have a certain pixellated quality—she zooms in so close that things lose their meanings .... 
And because Gabbert strikes such a perfect balance between heart and head, between cleverness and earnestness, between language that demonstrates its own fallibility and language that is surprisingly, perfectly precise—this book, too, amounts to a great deal. Contrary to the quick, clean getaway implied by its title, The French Exit is a kind of quantum goodbye, a gnomon of a book the very presence of which is defined by all the exits it keeps trying—and charmingly fails—to make. 

Isn't that wonderful? Thank you to Ali Shapiro and MAKE Mag for the review.


  1. That's a really good review, quotes a lot of the bits that I liked! (In a different sort of review, I would have interpreted "quantum goodbye" as Schrodinger's cattiness, but that's evidently not what's intended here.)

  2. Sort of Raymond Chandler meets James Bond in any case.

  3. You know that Chandler dictum about guns as plot device. One could argue that Schrodinger anticipated it in the case of quantum mechanics... Perhaps I should write a paper about this sometime.

  4. (NB word verif. is "tableho" (?!))

    They have already been here, sort of:

    A recent article entitled "An Entangled Web of Crime: Bell’s Theorem as a Short Story," in the American Journal of Physics, used a Sherlock Holmes plotline to explain effects of quantum non-locality. According to the co-author, Dr. Howard Wiseman of Griffith University in Australia, “A mystery or crime seemed to be the natural setting because of its adversarial structure with police questioning suspects who have something to hide. In quantum mechanics, nature seems like that; we can ask questions, but nature itself has something to hide and usually only gives up part of the truth.”

    Hard-boiled narration is an apt complement to quantum information. Technical articles are filled with agents, ciphers, bombs, uncertainty and hidden variables. But it also goes the other way: Quantum theory appears in neo-noir works from Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency to I ♥ Huckabees. In his play Hapgood, Tom Stoppard famously used quanta to describe double agents; the Coen brothers invoked Heisenberg in an attempt to acquit The Man Who Wasn’t There.

  5. One of those girls who gets drunk and dances on tables, no doubt.