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Dioramas

Dioramas

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In this hybrid novel-part essay, part prose poem, part travel narrative-Blair Austin brings us nose to the glass with our own vanishing world, what we preserve and at what cost. In a city far in the future, in a society that has come through a great upheaval, retired lecturer Wiggins moves from window to window in a museum, intricately describing each scene. Whales gliding above a shipwreck and a lost cup and saucer. An animatronic forest twenty stories tall. urban wolves in the light of an apartment building. A line of mosquitoes in uniforms and regalia, honored as heroes of the last great war. Bit by bit, Wiggins unspools the secrets of his world-the conflict that brought it to the brink, and the great thinker, Michaux, who led the diorama revolution, himself now preserved under glass. After a phone call in the middle of the night, Wiggins sets out to visit the Diorama of the Town: an entire, dioramic world, hundreds of miles across, where people are objects of curiosity, taxidermied and posed. All his life, Wiggins has longed to see it. But in the Town, he comes face to face with the diorama's contradictions. Its legacy of political violence. Its manipulation by those with power and money. And its paper-thin promise of immortality.

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Author/s: Austin, Blair

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