Every building in Big City opens up into a bridge that is a sentence that reaches from one body toward another: a plea, a threat, an offering.
Marream Krollos’s Big City is a work of vignettes, verse, dialogues, monologues, and short stories. Alone, they are fragments. Together, they offer an otherworldly glimpse of the human condition and an evocative narrative of desire, loneliness, and startling beauty.
A city is a chorus and a collection of traces; it is a way of being with others and a means of driving people apart. By mapping the emotional highs and lows of particular (though often anonymous) beings, Krollos fabricates a geography of urban consciousness, a sensation akin to how one experiences an attentive walk in an unfamiliar city, attuned to the tenor of its many voices.
Through language that builds, disintegrates, and violates, Krollos maps the geography of our contemporary existence, a haunting meditation on human togetherness and isolation.
Big City by Marream Krollos is a stunning novel. By turns tender, strange, and fierce, it is always achingly honest, always surprising, and often, just when it needs to be, very funny. I thought of Italo Calvino, Roberto Bolaño, and Renee Gladman while I was reading it. I thought too of explorers and cartographers and strangers sleeping and waking and walking in sunlight. What beautiful, powerful writing this is.
Marream Krollos’s city is place of aloneness and longing. With an obsessive, unforgettable voice (and a rare intellectual rigor), Krollos explores the bottomless antipathy her city dwellers feel for themselves. Big City is an amazing and ferocious book.
Lonely, menaced, loveless, longing, people sing the city into existence. They “squawk and squirt words”; they “spit on every inch of this concrete.” Reading Marream Krollos is “to withdraw amongst many,” to become anonymous and personal, to hear voices that contain “all forms of palpable weather.” Read her. Every building in Big City opens up into a bridge that is a sentence that reaches from one body toward another: a plea, a threat, an offering.