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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
Writers who have mastered their craft as well as Jeremy Beck can present almost any work – from idle but provocative sketches to intricately plotted novels – in almost any form, like a tiny novel (okay, memoir) made from such seemingly idle sketches (Memory Embraced) and make of it a tiny masterwork. So much writing skill is embedded in this hard-to-categorize but intensely memorable piece that it is the reader’s pleasure simply to let go, fully immerse himself and read. Beck captures exquisitely what it is really like to piece together one’s life through memory - like a collage of significances coming into and retreating out of focus, rather than a planned trajectory of causative events. This means his prose often reads like poetry, evoking visceral feelings and connotations through pattern rather than a shallower understanding through simple connectivity. Quite remarkable, really.
Jeremy Beck’s Memory Embraced might be regarded as “experimental”. If so, the experiment succeeds marvelously. Despite its brevity, the book does not feel short, nor even truncated. One finds oneself savoring all the words, savoring all the thoughts, savoring all the observations. One finds oneself inhabiting all of these as if the recollections are truly theirs. This marks the true success of any writer; making the reader feel this is the story of their own life. Their thoughts and observations. Their understandings. There is mention made of the narrator’s compositional underpinnings. Memory Embraced is a beautiful, timeless composition.