Names Are Music and So Are You and I
by Anders Wennerstrom

"Now I am in the street,
free from institutional care,
still mad
but really
with a controlled behaviour
walking and I meet you."

Using a combination of poetry and free verse, the author of this book starts by asking a simple question: what power does the name we are given have over the world around us? Struggling with bullying, depression, paranoia, and isolation, the narrator describes his daily life and his interactions with people who mock him, the mind that betrays him, and the nationalism that affects him in unexpected ways. What unfolds is an honest, vulnerable monologue about the desire to be among other people and have relationships while at the same time feeling out of place and not a part of society. With elements of introspection, 20th and 21st century history, and bizarre surreality, the narrator attempts to determine if the aspects of your identity over which you have no control can truly be a lifelong prison sentence.

Though this book is brief with its message and its storytelling, there are details of it that will stick with you long after you reach the final page. The lines of fact and fiction, or reality and perception, are vague and blurry at best, but that helps to capture the narrator’s own senses working against him. Readers of experimental literature or stream-of-consciousness will be engaged and have plenty to consider and interpret after reading this story. The notions of belonging versus individuality, or where identity originates from and how it can or cannot be changed, are powerfully brought to light but left up to the reader to consider their long-term significance. Though its length suggests light reading, this is almost a philosophical text, requiring the audience to put the proper weight to every individual word to comprehend the greater meaning within.

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