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Reviewed by Iza Grek for Readers' Favorite
Loneliness (Roman Ruminations, Volume One) by Norman Weeks is a deeply contemplative text about the author’s state of existence: loneliness. His escape is the craft of writing where he provides commentary on some of the greatest academics and philosophers to substantiate or explore his own sentiments. He refers often to the works of Henry Thoreau, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Nietzsche. Based in Rome as the title suggests, he is on a voyage of self-discovery through his writing and tackles some questions mirrored in the general human condition. These include the pursuit of happiness and the perpetual desire for love. Existential ponderings are also under his scrutiny. He pokes at language devices such as puns and malapropisms, questioning their usefulness in aiding expression, and is somewhat dismissive of our record of words referring to the dictionary as a “philological graveyard.”
His writing is exceptionally good and his phrasing at times staggering. He says, “Our vocabulary betrays the poverty of our philosophy.” His comment on Solzhenitsyn exposing Communism: “One lone man has cut open the putrid corpse of Communism and eviscerated it, scooping out the swarms of maggots for all to see.” About his own reflection on his solitary state he says, “I sometimes prefer the integrity of loneliness to the hypocrisy of society.” Norman Weeks puts together statements that are often profound and give pause for thought. Opulently rich in language, his text is deeply philosophical and a great pleasure to read. Although not a memoir per se, Loneliness did provide insight into a large chunk of the author’s life.