We are where we’ve been and what we’ve read, aren’t we? Where else do we get the experience we need to evocatively live?
At once a memoir, a reading journal, and a novel, Fragments of a Mortal Mind is a daring, contemporary commonplace book. Donald Anderson, critically acclaimed author of Gathering Noise from My Life and Below Freezing, shows us how the disparate elements of our lives collect to construct our deepest selves and help us to make sense of it all. Anderson layers his personal experiences and reflections with those of others who have wrestled with inner and outer social, cultural, and political memories that are not as accurate as history might suggest but that each of us believe nonetheless. He challenges the reader’s sense of memory and fact, downplaying the latter in explaining how each of us crafts our own personal histories.
As Anderson weaves his voice among numerous other voices and ideas that rest upon other ideas, we are faced with larger issues of human existence: war, memory, trauma, mortality, religion, fear, joy, ugliness, and occasional beauty. What we have here is a meditation on living in America. We are shown how the world we consume becomes us as we metabolize it. How we, as humans, through our own fragments of memories, influences, and experiences become our true selves. By charting fragments of thoughts over a lifetime, Anderson exposes a way of thinking and perceiving the world that is refreshingly intuitive and desperately needed. Fragments of a Mortal Mind is a powerful masterpiece that closely resembles our lived experiences and is a vivid reflection of our time.
“Fragments of a Mortal Mind is at turns incisive, funny, and tender, a welcome glimpse inside the mind of a talented writer. Throughout the book Anderson reminds us that as slippery as memory can be, that unwieldiness never diminishes its power.” —Sara Novíc, author of Girl at War
“It is a daring and well-conceived book—one that shows us how the disparate elements of our lives gather into the construction of our deepest selves.” —Brian Turner, author of My Life as a Foreign Country: A Memoir