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Aurelia, Aurélia

A Memoir
Author 1
Kathryn Davis
Aurelia, Aurélia begins on a boat. The author, sixteen years old, is traveling to Europe at an age when one can “try on personae like dresses.” She has the confidence of a teenager cultivating her earliest obsessions—Woolf, Durrell, Bergman—sure of her maturity, sure of the life that awaits her. Soon she finds herself in a Greece far drearier than the Greece of fantasy, “climbing up and down the steep paths every morning with the real old women, looking for kindling.”
Kathryn Davis’s hypnotic new book is a meditation on the way imagination shapes life, and how life, as it moves forward, shapes imagination. At its center is the death of her husband, Eric. The book unfolds as a study of their marriage, its deep joys and stinging frustrations; it is also a book about time, the inexorable events that determine beginnings and endings. The preoccupations that mark Davis’s fiction are recognizable here—fateful voyages, an intense sense of place, the unexpected union of the magical and the real—but the vehicle itself is utterly new.
Aurelia, Aurélia explodes the conventional bounds of memoir. It is an astonishing accomplishment.

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5.5 x 8.25
An eerily dream-like memoir, and the first work of nonfiction by one of our most inventive novelists

About the Author

Kathryn  Davis
Credit: Anne Davis
Kathryn Davis is the author of eight novels, including The Silk Road and Duplex. She is the senior fiction writer on the faculty of the writing program at Washington University.
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  • “Brief yet stunning. . . . An attentive reader and erudite writer, Davis plumbs her internal archive in search of solace and clarity in the face of ineffable tragedy. . . . These disparate moments transform the memoir into something that flows more like a guided dream, rendered in daring, vulnerable prose, steeped in death but brilliantly transformative. . . . A transcendent work of literary divination.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • “This is simply an incomparable book. Kathryn Davis has created what feels like a parallel plane of existence where lucky strangers—readers—are allowed to briefly visit.”—Heidi Julavits
  • “Kathryn Davis’s Aurelia, Aurélia is a splendid memoir, a spiritually fortifying meditation on the concept of transition as it applies to literature, music, life and death. . . . This is visionary work that rewards reading and re-reading.”—Christine Schutt
  • “As a fan of her novels, I knew what to expect from Kathryn Davis: the beautiful prose, the depth of thought, the originality, the wit. But I was not prepared to be as moved as I was reading her intensely poignant memoir. . . . Though much of it is heartbreaking, Aurelia, Aurélia made me rejoice.”—Sigrid Nunez

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