An Inventory of Losses
By Judith Schalansky
A dazzling book about memory and extinction from the author of Atlas of Remote Islands
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Financial Times Best Book of the Year
Each disparate object described in this book―a Caspar David Friedrich painting, a species of tiger, a villa in Rome, a Greek love poem, an island in the Pacific―shares a common fate: it no longer exists, except as the dead end of a paper trail. Recalling the works of W. G. Sebald, Bruce Chatwin, or Rebecca Solnit, An Inventory of Losses is a beautiful evocation of twelve specific treasures that have been lost to the world forever, and, taken as a whole, opens mesmerizing new vistas of how we can think about extinction and loss.
With meticulous research and a vivid awareness of why we should care about these losses, Judith Schalansky, the acclaimed author of Atlas of Remote Islands, lets these objects speak for themselves: she ventriloquizes the tone of other sources, burrows into the language of contemporaneous accounts, and deeply interrogates the very notion of memory.
"Schalansky treats each of the 12 objects cataloged in her new book with an almost religious awe, like a believer giving herself up to be inhabited by spirits." ― Los Angeles Review of Books
"Brilliant....an ambulatory and often playful meditation on history and forgetting." -- Kate Zambreno ― New York Times
"Schalansky cements her reputation as a peerless chronicler of the fabulous, the faraway, and the forgotten." ― Publishers Weekly (starred)