Author: Claire Donato
Publisher: Tarpaulin Sky Press (2013)
Set in the mind of a narrator who is grieving the loss of her father, who conflates her hotel room with the morgue, and who encounters characters that may not exist, Burial is a little novel about an immeasurable black hole. Like a 21st century Lispector, Donato grapples with ontology and trades plot for ambience; the result is an elegy in prose at once lyrical and intelligent, with no small amount of rot and vomit and ghosts.
"Claire Donato's patient, immersive meditation on death and mourning designed in precise urn-like prose, Burial, fledges itself with the poise of Woolf or Loy or Carson; a kind of humming, marbled elegy for the as-yet-extant-alive, and like finding a real river in a dictionary."
"In her captivating book, Donato follows grief logic into a space of defamiliarization, speaking of death, television, rooms, love, nouns and voices as if confronting them for the first time. The language loops, stepping back to move forward, always circling a mind aware of its movements. It's a gorgeous fugue, an unforgettable progression, a telling I cannot shake."
"Burial is a full and vibrant illustration of the restless turns of a mind undergoing trauma. Language here serves both as escape and as a threat, at once suspect and yet the only consolation. In Burial, Donato makes and unmakes the world with words, and what is left shimmers with pain and delight."
"Burial's narrator dislocates familiar language in order to present a view of the self from outside the self. Claire Donato's assured and poetic debut augurs a promising career."