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A Gesture Through Time Paperback – January 15, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Spuyten Duyvil (January 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933132132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933132136
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.7 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,953,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

At once erotic, whirling toward dying, philosophical, and comic, A Gesture Through Time, explores an obsession with bodies lost in love and in death, and the inability to distinguish between an absent lover and an absent parent in memory. The tale’s abstract and meticulous language imagines lost bodies in the wake of ruptured optics and indeterminate perceptions.

It begins in a Detroit steel factory, where a forbidden love affair ignites. Magnitude Hortense Zappa, a worker, seduces the narrator, a teenage heir to the steel factory. When the steel factory owner is killed by one of his workers, the love affair abruptly ends, leaving a wasteland of unresolved emotion. The narrator’s own identity is only slowly revealed, as the lovers face 'their affair' 20 years later, when they cross paths at a San Francisco film festival.

Through innovative narrative structure, the story offers multiple points of view, ambiguous sexual and romantic perspectives, cinematic scenarios, love letters, case history notes, dramatic dialogues, unusual film history, textual flipbooks, and unreliable memories. The story traces the lovers' shifting identities, and the psychological landscape where conscious and unconscious associations of loss and love intermingle. Until their eventual reunion, the lovers’ compulsions unravel through their constant inability to be in the same place at the same time, whether in actual geographical space, the space of memory, or in the space of their conflicting obsessions with sight and sound.

From the Inside Flap

While there are many talented experimental novelists working today, writers who are able to transcend the traditional limitations of the novel in order to present rare states of experience and consciousness, a rarer state of experience and consciousness occurs when an experimental novel is actually fun to read. A Gesture Through Time, Elizabeth Block’s debut, is that rare and sparkling find. Not only is Block’s novel more entertaining than most avant-garde writing, but it gives more pleasure than many mainstream novels from large and small presses alike. Spuyten Duyvil Press, which in recent years has been steadily improving its batting stats, hitting doubles and triples and the occasional home run, has finally hit one clean out of the park. ...... Indeed, if Joyce and Eliot were alive today, celebrating literature by taking film cameras apart, celebrating stream-of-consciousness by dictating their love of technology into digital recorders, and celebrating sex by showing us what the lesbians are doing behind the steel plant, then Block’s prose would be the prose that they would be required to write.  Robert Clark Young, The Brooklyn Rail, September 2005

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe Zirker on January 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eiizabeth Block has written a fascinating, introspective and poetic exploration of a complex life whose interior regions are superbly accessed through a captivating use of surrealism. Her stream of consciousness reveals a superb knowledge of philosophy, psychology, the sciences and the arts. It is a novel that one can begin on almost any page and immediately become involved in an inspired and compelling journey.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frances Lerner on December 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
A Gesture Through Time is a remarkable book.

Somehow, Elizabeth Block achieves a complex,contradictory,"experimenting"

story that actually gave me a new, unique experience in reading.

While the writing is muscular, solid, clear and intelligent,

the structure is wild, inventive and risky, and amazingly energetic.

The narrator is passed from one to the other between the characters Sarah,

Hortense, and Elizabeth, yet with each looking so far inward, the book reads as cinematically outward.

In the middle, the book dissolves into a flipbook by Elizabeth,

and at end, the narrator sort of falls off and out of

the verbal story and becomes a tragic/comic strip

of visual images by Evri Kwong.

Reading A Gesture Through Time is like riding a bullet passing through a kaleidoscope.

I felt thoroughly turned inside out and back again by the end.

(*Robert Young calls A Gesture Through Time "a rare and sparkling find" ------

[...]) look it up!
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