Curator Reviews

Unreality of Memory

What will we ultimately remember about this annus horribilis? Gabbert sets us up perfectly during this (hopefully) middle stage of the pandemic with her thorough explorations of how we collectively process and recall disasters. The individual essays use Chernobyl, the Titanic, climate change, and other instances of apocalypse, all of which Gabbert brings to new life by unearthing lost details and framing each event in terms of our recollection of them, not necessarily the events themselves. The collection threads together a treatise on human capacity for mis-remembering and how we go about protecting ourselves from suffering. At one point she wonders which is more true—whether emotions are ideas, or whether ideas are emotions—and these essays as a whole demonstrates that the two are symbiotic.