Trapped in the Present Tense

trappedinthepresenttense_cover-7Trapped in the Present Tense: Meditations on American Memory

“Colette Brooks is that rarest of writers: an original. Her ruminative, visionary, forensic meditation on enduring American pathologies, with its rich trove of visual artifacts, is both riveting and deeply mysterious.” 

– Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach and A Visit from the Goon Squad

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“Brooks is paying her respects to fleeting but meaningful episodes in our history, pushing back against our culture’s waves of forgetting . . . By preserving the capacity to be surprised, she concludes, we may be more open to keeping memory alive . . . [Brooks] has done just this.”
      —Michael S. Roth, 
The Washington Post

“A work of literature that’s beautiful, uncategorizable, sad, and challenging. In other words, a book that’s very near life itself.”
       —Melissa Holbrook Pierson,

“Brooks ruminates upon the past while reframing events to challenge our present perceptions of what matters most when we look back and formulate life lessons . . . This is a sophisticated, thoughtful collection that should be read with the kind of care that Brooks instilled into each provocative essay.”

“Evocative . . . Whether it’s gun violence, nuclear war or government incursions on Americans’ privacy, Brooks’s concerns are broad and vital . . . Colette Brooks cogently assesses an array of modern American problems through the lens of history and recollection.”                                                                                                   —Shelf Awareness

“[A] lyrical meditation on the meaning of memory.” —Kirkus Reviews

“What is a memory? Colette Brooks searchingly explores this question, one so fundamental we never really ask it, to uncover the sinuous paths by which public and private information intersect and mutate to form something quite separate from events as they occurred. Brooks doesn’t merely describe but rather enacts this process. In prose that moves between urgent, reflective, and intimate registers, she makes vivid how the news—in all its evolving but always insistent forms—has colonized our most intimate selves. Trapped in the Present Tense charts this new consciousness and takes astute stock of its social and emotional implications.”
                 —Albert Mobilio, author of 
Same Faces

“One of the pleasures of reading Colette Brooks is relinquishing what I thought I knew about her subjects. The startling clarity of her thinking, the lucidity of her sentences, and her knack for knowing where to look transform whatever she’s writing about into something strangely unfamiliar and thrilling. And in Trapped in the Present Tense, a moving meditation on American life, Brooks reveals the contemporary moment to be both mournfully inevitable and utterly unexpected.”
          —Alexander Halberstadt, author of 
Young Heroes of the Soviet Union