Monday, June 17, 2013

We Learn Nothing

We Learn Nothing
Tim Kreider

We Learn Nothing reads like the internal dialogue we all have with ourselves at some point, usually during moments we feel will define not only our lives, but who we are. Kreider finds inspiration in life’s toughest stuff—finding your birth family in midlife, grappling with changing conceptions of our closest friends, feeling helpless as our parents age, and facing our own flaws and self-deceptions—appealing to himself and his readers through humour, candour, and an offbeat, self-effacing assuredness that everything will work itself out in the end.

Like the front cover depicting Kreider jumping off the edge of a cliff, relying only on a pair of makeshift wings, terra firma nowhere in sight, much of Kreider’s charm lies not in his ability as a fellow human to provide us with answers to life’s most persistent dilemmas, but in his comforting us with the knowledge that we are not alone with our fears of life’s many unknowns. Like his title, which dispels the myth that knowledge and certainty accumulate with age, Kreider seems to suggest that it is, in fact, this uncertainty that characterizes much of the human experience. Kreider’s writings provide a remedy not for this uncertainty, but for the discomfort that accompanies it, suggesting that sometimes the very best we can do in our very limited positions as human beings is to close our eyes, take a deep breath, and jump.

- Sarah Walker

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