The Folded Clock

The Folded Clock

A Diary

Book - 2015
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A raucous, stunningly candid, deliriously smart diary of two years in the life of the incomparable Heidi Julavits. Like many young people, Heidi Julavits kept a diary. Decades later she found her old diaries in a storage bin, and hoped to discover the early evidence of the person (and writer) she'd since become. Instead, 'The actual diaries revealed me to possess the mind of a paranoid tax auditor.' The entries are daily chronicles of anxieties about grades, looks, boys, and popularity. After reading the confessions of her past self, writes Julavits, 'I want to good-naturedly laugh at this person. I want to but I can't. What she wanted then is scarcely different from what I want today.' Thus was born a desire to try again, to chronicle her daily life as a forty-something woman, wife, mother, and writer. The dazzling result is The Folded Clock, in which the diary form becomes a meditation on time and self, youth and aging, betrayal and loyalty, friendship and romance, faith and fate, marriage and family, desire and death, gossip and secrets, art and ambition. Concealed beneath the minute obsession with 'dailiness' are sharply observed moments of cultural criticism and emotionally driven philosophical queries. In keeping with the spirit of a diary, the tone is confessional, sometimes shockingly so, as the focus shifts from the woman she wants to be to the woman she may have become. Julavits's spirited sense of humor about her foibles and misadventures, combined with her ceaseless intelligence and curiosity, explode the typically confessional diary form. The Folded Clock is as playful as it is brilliant, a tour de force by one of the most gifted prose stylists in American letters.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385538992
Characteristics: 290 pages ; 22 cm


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Jul 17, 2016

Smart, clever and oh so human.

Sep 17, 2015

Mildly entertaining at first but finally just bored by this. Too much like reading flippant self-indulgent emails.

manoush Aug 04, 2015

I picked up this book expecting it to have all the rawness and unstructured thoughts of a diary, as the book claims it is. Instead, the writing is very self-consciously geared to an audience. It strains to be funny and confessional and goes out of its way to emphasize the author's petty anxieties and faults. This makes for mildly entertaining reading, but it's not a diary. It's more like a series of ruminations of a very self-conscious and somewhat humorous narrator. The non-chronological order of the "entries" is strange, it doesn't have any particular effect and seems more like a gimmick.

lib_apart May 06, 2015

A wonderfully engrossing look into one woman's psyche. It almost goes beyond the definition of a diary, being an account of cherry-picked anxieties and neurotic responses. Nevertheless, this account is humorous, I'm tempted to say, like a female Woody Allen, though that description doesn't quite fit. I haven't gotten to what the "folded clock" refers to yet, but if it's the way she plays with time like a wormhole between childhood recollections, false memories, and her adult self, then I would say she found a most fitting title.


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