Louis Klee reviews 'Blind Spot' by Teju Cole

The text tells us this is Venice, or more precisely Giudecca, but what we see is an empty arcade, a distant tower, and the long shadow of the photographer. It is a scene with an understated surrealism, like a painting of de Chirico, but both photo and adjacent text are by Teju Cole. Giudecca, writes Cole, means ‘“Jewry,” though there’s no proof a Jewish community ever lived here’. In the act of scanning the photo’s negative, however, this absence takes on a different meaning. ‘I get an unexpected text message from A,’ the text continues, ‘who is a doctor: “One of my patients is a holocaust survivor. 93 years old. Still has PTSD and screams at night”.’

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Published in November 2017, no. 396

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