If you haven't read it, it's a shortish (though dense and beautiful) book-length essay loosely circling around lavish and varied descriptions of various blues, or instances of the color blue, or things that reference the color blue, as well as (you guessed it), the author's emotional and physical states and the ways in which she interacts with the world. That's reductive like any lame description of a piece of art that resists being encapsulated in description, but that's a capsule of it. Structured as 240 numbered sections/strophes/paragraphs, it moves via meander, returning periodically to these ideas. This prose is obviously written by a poet, which I like. (Actually I have been recently thinking that everyone should be trained in poetry before they are allowed to write anything else at all.) I won't speak to the whole yet, because I'm trying to move slowly, but the headspace that it creates is quite lovely.
The structure--240 separate short sections, and importantly, numbered consecutively--keeps it tethered down even as individual sections start to unhinge. It's important that the sections tend to circle back to the same ideas, enlarging and expanding on them as they go. It's essentially a meditation, which keeps the brain front and center, rendering it as essay. And there's world here, not just self (though self is explored too: the book is plenty revealing and naked-seeming when it has to about the nature of desire):
68. After building his bower, the satin bowerbird makes a stage nearby out of shiny yellow grass, upon which he will sing and dance for passing females. Experienced builders and performers can attract up to thirty-three females to fuck per season if they put on a good enough show, have built up enough good blue in their bower, and have the contrast with the yellow straw down right. Less experienced builders sometimes don't attract any females at all. Each female mates only once. She incubates the eggs alone.
69. When I see photos of these blue bowers, I feel so much desire that I wonder if I might have been born into the wrong species.I could pretty much quote any two consecutive sections from the book, but this gives you a sense of what's happening easily enough.
The headspace is the important part: the mood varies from section to section, but within the same voice. There is a sort of narrative (a lover lost) as the book essays forth.
While not fancy, structure and voice are what makes this book hold together for this reader so far.
In a meaningful coincidence, my place in the book is marked by this:
And yes, I do own the CD single for this. I have been listening to it lately for an essay I'm working on.