Imagine your life punctuated by strange talismans—taxidermy, a narwhal’s tooth— illustrated by forgotten items of clothing—an old cardigan, a slip—set in motion by an antique opal found on the ground. Imagine your life in footnotes. Now imagine you are young and sent to live in Paris against your will. Imagine you get there and do not belong (for many reasons). Imagine the comfort of these strange objects you’ve come to collect. See how they follow you and begin to tell your tale. Stephanie LaClava’s brilliant first book is a powerful coming-of-age memoir and delightfully illustrated miscellany all at once. Delving into the deepest, darkest corners of a young life, capturing beautifully the tangibility of nostalgia and the impossibility of belonging, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects
is a marvel of print. I cannot recommend it enough.