ELEGY FOR A FABULOUS WORLD, by Alta Ifland ("Ifland?" emphasis, I take it, on the word "If..." Anyway, "Real Fictions of strange lands..." the phrase leaps out at me from backcover publisher's description. I've carried ELEGY with me for a few weeks and, at last, a little break, an opportunity to do something more than browse... truth is, once one starts it's hard to put down... Alta Ifland's ELEGY is a marvel, a little classic. "Uncanny tales merge the child's innocent seeing with the sorrowful knowledge of myth," writes Sven Birkerts, and one has only to read the opening story "Fedea the Gravedigger" to see the truth of this description.
"There was something intensely peaceful about that [the gravedigger's] checkered shirt showing between vases full of pink roses and the daisies lining the stripes of land that separated one tomb from another. In those moments of quiet forgetfulness, lying under the foliage of a tall walnut tree with the sun rays trickling through the branches, we completely forgot Fedea's existence. Or rather, we stopped thinking of him as Fedea the Gravedigger and only saw him as a colorful spot in the scintillating tapestry we were a part of..."
"Fedea..." is followed by "The Nonexistence of Adelaide Bauer," magical, absurd, thoroughly engaging and, at once, painful, funny... and at the same time otherworldly _and_ realistic.
Causes Robert Sward Supports
Audubon Society, National Geographic, "Green," the Environment, SPCA...