'Sight' Is A Penetrating Vision Of Motherhood, Science And More

Jessie Greengrass' novel is packed with shimmering sentences and poetic paragraphs from a narrator who's never content to drift along, but must probe "the convoluted crenellations of the mind."

Jessie Greengrass' Sight is one of those books that critics rave about, yet many readers wonder why. Here's why: Shimmering sentences and long paragraphs that unspool like yellow brick roads, winding toward emerald cities of elusive, hard-to-express insights. A definition of love as an "encumbrance of minutiae" which both anchors and defines you. Observations like this: "The price of sight is wonder's diminishment."

Yet as much as I admire Greengrass' mental and verbal felicity, I also understand that heris a novel, because it reads so much like a memoir. However wondrously articulate, it is heavy with obsessive worries and sad memories and research-based disquisitions on three scientists whose work revealed previously hidden aspects of human beings: Wilhelm Röntgen, the Nobel Prize-winning inventor of X-rays; John Hunter, an 18th century surgeon and anatomist; and Sigmund Freud, whose analysis of his daughter, Anna, helped plumb the unconscious.

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