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PRINT October 2018

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NOTHING PERSONAL

Jean-Jacques Schuhl in his home, Paris, May 15, 2009. Photo: Richard Dumas/Redux.

Dusty Pink, by Jean-Jacques Schuhl, translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman. New York: Semiotext(e)/Native Agents, 2018. 128 pages.

I HAVE MIXED FEELINGS about writing that draws on direct experience. I love the unabashed immediacy of journals, am less enthusiastic about the portentous tone that frequently tinges memoir, and have become increasingly exasperated by the quiet self-importance of the personal essay. The notion that the personal is political has perhaps fomented a general mode of self-reflection that is susceptible to the casting of individual dilemmas and anxieties in a universal light. The style of writing that this approach engenders tends to be gently yet steadfastly reverential, so that every humdrum detail of daily life is weighted with lyrical significance to the degree that ultimately everything means something. Appreciation of what that “something” is, the buzz of “

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