Ordinary Notes

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Critically acclaimed author of In the Wake, "Christina Sharpe is a brilliant thinker who attends unflinchingly to the brutality of our current arrangements . . . and yet always finds a way to beauty and possibility" (Saidiya Hartman).

A singular achievement, Ordinary Notes explores profound questions about loss and the shapes of Black life that emerge in the wake. In a series of 248 notes that gather meaning as we read them, Christina Sharpe skillfully weaves artifacts from the past--public ones alongside others that are poignantly personal--with present realities and possible futures, intricately constructing an immersive portrait of everyday Black existence. The themes and tones that echo through these pages--sometimes about language, beauty, memory; sometimes about history, art, photography, and literature--always attend, with exquisite care, to the ordinary-extraordinary dimensions of Black life.

At the heart of Ordinary Notes is the indelible presence of the author's mother, Ida Wright Sharpe. "I learned to see in my mother's house," writes Sharpe. "I learned how not to see in my mother's house . . . My mother gifted me a love of beauty, a love of words." Using these gifts and other ways of seeing, Sharpe steadily summons a chorus of voices and experiences to the page. She practices an aesthetic of "beauty as a method," collects entries from a community of thinkers toward a "Dictionary of Untranslatable Blackness," and rigorously examines sites of memory and memorial. And in the process, she forges a brilliant new literary form, as multivalent as the ways of Black being it traces.

4-color art throughout

Author: Christina Sharpe
Binding Type: Hardcover
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: 04/25/2023
Pages: 392
Weight: 1.92lbs
Size: 9.08h x 6.59w x 1.17d
ISBN: 9780374604486

Award: National Book Awards - Nominee

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 11/01/2022 pg. 13
Publishers Weekly 02/13/2023
Kirkus Reviews 02/15/2023
Library Journal 03/01/2023 pg. 150

About the Author
Christina Sharpe is the author of In the Wake: On Blackness and Being--named by The Guardian as one of the best books of 2016--and Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects. She is currently the Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities at York University, in Toronto, Canada, where she lives.