The Short of it all Dreams and Scenes of Memoir Fiction. By Marc Zimmerman. ISBN: 978-1986065597. 190 pgs. $19.95
Latino Fiction, Hispanic literature, Sephardic literature, Latino Jewish--Social life and customs--Fiction
With a gentle tip of his hat to Kafka, Marc Zimmerman presents M, his professor/author protagonist, haunted by problems with his weight and wives, his writing, teaching, ethnicity and performance. Where does all this lead? What can one make of these dreams and scenes of memory fiction?
“If memories are ultimately fiction, no matter how based on our experiences, then, memoirs are inevitably fictional representations of memory; and memoir fictions are the overt reworking of memory into aesthetically honed narratives. Logically, then, memoir dream fictions are somehow the narrations of dreams which throughout or in one moment or another, lead to the intervention, however refracted, of one or another fictional trope or move that gives what we can remember of our dreams the substance and form required to somehow achieve status as a ‘literary work.’”
This small book presents brief dreams and dreamlike scenes that have emerged in Zimmerman’s pursuit of memoir fiction over the past several years. Some perhaps at least seem to be trivial, others are clearly more; but all of them, taken together, achieve an elusive but ultimate depth. Some of the stories stem from his boyhood memories and projections; from his anxieties throughout his career and his life as Jewish American and human being. Several stem from his years after retirement, when he faces the dread of being diminished, mocked or forgotten as he rushes toward his illuminating dark. All these stories are really among the shortest of what Zimmerman has written—the short of his all.
Author and editor of over thirty books, Marc Zimmerman is U. of Illinois at Chicago and U. of Houston Emeritus Professor. This is his fifth book of “memoir fiction,” which also includes Stories of Winter and Martin and Marvin, both published by LACASA (Houston 2006 and Chicago 2016); as well as Lines on the Border and The Italian Daze, both published by Floricanto Press (Moorpark, 2017).
Cover art: Gamaliel Ramírez