The Unwritten Book: An Investigation by Hunt, Samantha
Samantha Hunt

The Unwritten Book: An Investigation -- Samantha Hunt

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"A beautiful, inventive collection shot through with wildness and grace." --Maggie Nelson, author of On Freedom

From Samantha Hunt, the award-winning author of The Dark Dark, comes The Unwritten Book, her first work of nonfiction, a genre-bending creation that explores the importance of books, the idea of haunting, and messages from beyond

I carry each book I've ever read with me, just as I carry my dead--those things that aren't really there, those things that shape everything I am.

A genre-bending work of nonfiction, Samantha Hunt's The Unwritten Book explores ghosts, ghost stories, and haunting, in the broadest sense of each. What is it to be haunted, to be a ghost, to die, to live, to read? Books are ghosts; reading is communion with the dead. Alcohol is a way of communing, too, as well as a way of dying.

Each chapter gathers subjects that haunt: dead people, the forest, the towering library of all those books we'll never have time to read or write. Hunt, like a mad crossword puzzler, looks for patterns and clues. Through literary criticism, history, family history, and memoir, inspired by W. G. Sebald, James Joyce, Ali Smith, Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, and many others, Hunt explores motherhood, hoarding, legacies of addiction, grief, how we insulate ourselves from the past, how we misinterpret the world. Nestled within her inquiry is a very special ghost book, an incomplete manuscript about people who can fly without wings, written by her father and found in his desk just days after he died. What secret messages might his work reveal? What wisdom might she distill from its unfinished pages?

Hunt conveys a vivid and grateful life, one that comes from living closer to the dead and shedding fear for wonder. The Unwritten Book revels in the randomness, connectivity, and magic of everyday existence. And at its heart is the immense weight of love.

Author: Samantha Hunt
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: 04/05/2022
Pages: 384
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.08lbs
Size: 8.66h x 5.62w x 1.27d
ISBN: 9780374604912

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal 01/01/2022 pg. 63
Kirkus Reviews 01/01/2022
Publishers Weekly 01/10/2022
Booklist 04/01/2022 pg. 12

About the Author
Samantha Hunt's novel about Nikola Tesla, The Invention of Everything Else, was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Seas, earned her selection as one of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35. Her novel Mr. Splitfoot was an Indie Next Pick. Her story collection, The Dark Dark, was named a best book of the year by NPR and Vogue. It won the St. Francis College Literary Prize and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Hunt's work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, McSweeney's, Tin House, A Public Space, and elsewhere. She lives in upstate New York.