In her review, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer offers the reader a template for the many ways to enjoy this book and the possibilities it holds. She does me a great kindness and a huge service. It’s a conceptual book; I appreciated her care and joy for the project.
From the review “Daring acts of voyeurism”:
I read [Seen Reading] as an act of voyeurism, in the spirit of its inception. Wilson writes in the prologue: “I am a literary voyeur.” That sentence fascinated me.
We are not given specifics on where each Toronto Transit Commission rider was spotted. In fact, we are not given much of anything specific. We are given imagined fleeting moments in the lives of these readers/riders, some of which, in fewer words than ought to be possible, accumulate to startling emotional breadth. We are given the tangible pressing up to the intangible. We know we saw this male Asian reader, reading this book, and we imagine this narrative for him.
But wait. We have neither seen nor imagined any of these things. What we have seen is Julie Wilson seeing, and so at one remove we are a kind of infinite-regress voyeur. We are reading! And for the voyeur, reading is the ultimate safe act. It’s a neat little trick.