Homo Irrealis

André Aciman

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One of the great prose stylists of his generation, André Aciman returns to the essay form in Homo Irrealis to explore what time means to artists who cannot grasp life in the present. Irrealis moods are not about the present or the past or the future; they are about what might have been but never was but could in theory still happen. From meditations on subway poetry and the temporal resonances of an empty Italian street to considerations of the lives and work of Sigmund Freud, C. P. Cavafy, W. G. Sebald, John Sloan, Éric Rohmer, Marcel Proust, and Fernando Pessoa and portraits of cities such as Alexandria and St. Petersburg, Homo Irrealis is a deep reflection on the imagination’s power to forge a zone outside of time’s intractable hold.