Coordinates vs. Location

Morning on the beach. Carolina Beach, North Carolina

“Knowing your latitude and longitude is not the same as knowing where you are.” From The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

I loved this statement as a stand-alone quote, but it is also interesting in the context in which it appears.

I just finished reading this fascinating book by Jennifer Egan. It is the second of hers I’ve read, the first being “A Visit From The Goon Squad.” As “alternative world/dystopian future/reality-fantasy” (my definition, strange as it is) it is outside my usual crime fiction subject matter but something I’ve been exploring more lately. It’s a lot better to me than non-fiction gloom and doom stories about failed and/or corrupt politicians, end of the world climate change or crappy economic news!

The premise of the book is a society where a huge social media corporation run by a super tech demi-god whose name everyone knows (sound familiar?) has developed a technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others. Think about that. Of course not everyone chooses to participate, and whole companies are formed, both to promote and profit from and also avoid this (over)sharing of information.

Egan’s writing style can be a little hard for me to follow, as she changes characters, points of view and subject matter seemingly at random. I found it to be a good exercise of my reading and comprehension skills, as its important to pay attention to the story lines as they bob and weave.

Fun stuff, for anyone interested in this kind of writing!

2 thoughts on “Coordinates vs. Location”

  1. Love that image!!! Sounds like I could not follow along with her. There would be words I’m not familiar with and spend too much time looking them up. Then need to reread a few pages to grasp it. Like you the gloom and doom readings are only a quick downer for me and for sure not how I wish to start any day.

    I like how I seem to recall things from the past as I get older. Someone may share with me a story or incident and a memory returns. Then I want to know if that is a correct memory or something garbled in my mind.

    1. The image was one of my favorites from an approximately 10-minute period where I tried motion blur. Its one of my favorite techniques but I often have to remember to do it when the light is right. To get the long-ish exposures I need it to be pretty dark, or remember to bring along my variable ND filter, which I usually forget!

      The vocabulary of her books is not terribly technical, so I don’t think you would struggle with the terminology. The story line can be a little tough to follow, though, so I do sometimes find myself thinking “huh?” and going back to re-read a section. But that happens even with the best of books sometimes because I tend to be easily distracted!

      And why is it that we tend to remember random things from years ago but not things from more recent history? One of many mysteries!

Comments are closed.