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There are writers who specialize in the strange and others whose genius is to find the strangeness in the familiar, the unexpected meanings in stories we thought we knew. Of that second category, Lawrence Weschler is the master. Witness the pieces in this splendidly disorienting collection, spanning twenty years of his career and the full range of his concerns—which is to say, practically everything.
Only Lawrence Weschler could reveal the connections between the twentieth century’s Yugoslav wars and the equally violent Holland in which Vermeer created his luminously serene paintings. In his profile of Roman Polanski, Weschler traces the filmmaker’s symbolic negotiations with his nightmarish childhood during the Holocaust. Here, too, are meditations on artists Ed Kienholz and David Hockney, on the author’s grandfather and daughter, and on the light and earthquakes of his native Los Angeles. Haunting, elegant, and intoxicating, Vermeer in Bosnia awakens awe and wonder at the world around us.