cj (7)


Hejinian, Lyn. My Life. Green Integer, Kobenhavn and Los Angeles, 2002.

Heti, Sheila. How Should A Person Be? House of Anansi Press, Toronto, ON, 2012.

This book is categorized as a novel, but seems like an ultra non-fiction account (so far) of the author’s art-scene life in Toronto. In the novel and in life, Heti is best friends with artist Margaux Williamson. Using this friendship as a narrative anchor, the author interrogates her experiences through a self-reflexive method trying to discover the key to being a good person. I’m hoping the book becomes more scientific, or maybe more philosophical because she opens with a desire to become a famous celebrity (some people in the art world can probably relate). On one hand, it’s intriguing to see how these young artists navigate their successful, up-and-coming, or non-existent art careers and their subsequent nocturnal social lives. On the other, the book perpetuates capitalist myths and it’s almost cringy to look underneath the judgements of others while learning how each of Heti’s friend stack up: who acts correctly, who knows the right people, who has the best attitude toward their art practice, etc. Maybe it’s too much reading this book while living a similar critical reality.