Review of Timepieces, by Drusilla Modjeska
Drusilla Modjeska's latest book, Timepieces, is a collection of essays that covers a broad span of subjects, including memory, writing, place, family, friends, and other authors. What holds these disparate essays together is a sense of time. Not that each chronicles a particular time, nor that time is overtly the subject. Rather, the essays explore permutations of time and writing. For example, 'The Australian' is an explicit memory piece, a recollection of first love, while 'Writing Poppy' is a consideration of narrative time. In this essay Modjeska introduces (herself as) the figure of the temporiser. The temporiser finds herself overwhelmed by the emotive presence of the present and retreats to other times, returning only to the present once it has safely passed to 'reconsider it from a safer vantage point' (75). The temporising text, like Timepieces, moves between past and present, memory and the imagined, truth and fiction in order to reflect upon a personal history of writing, as well as the writing of personal histories.
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