Incredibly unique, wildly vivid, and so unlike anything I have read…
These were a mere few of my many thoughts upon finishing the book The Blind Contessa’s New Machine. Needing to know more about the genesis of this stunning slip of a book, I took to the site of author Carey Wallace.
As the title suggests, blindness sits at the core of this work. Yet as Wallace slowly syphons the reader’s vision, she delicately replaces it with a creative vision that manages to supersede that of any other. While Wallace’s site reveals that she hasn’t personally experienced blindness, she hopes that The Blind Contessa’s New Machine might give her readers “…permission to find the world just a little more beautiful, a little more strange, a little more wonderful than what we think we can see.”
When I realized that Carey Wallace grew up in several small towns in Michigan, I managed a lovely exchange with the author and found out that she spent her elementary school years in Hillsdale where her dad was a professor before moving on to graduate from Chelsea High School. While Wallace currently resides in Brooklyn, she considers Chelsea her hometown and shares the sweet fact that “the more time I spend there as an adult, the more remarkable I find it.” Ms. Wallace credits the dedication of former teachers who were “fully supported by a community that deeply valued the arts” for her deft skills as a writer and creative.
With Ms. Wallace’s sincere responses to my queries, it was easy to hear the echo of Contessa’s fleshed and heartfelt characters. If she had any program in The Blind Contessa’s New Machine, she says, it may have been this: to challenge materialism, to complicate the seen world’s claim to be “reality”, and to encourage people that their sense that “there must be more than this” is not only accurate, but the foundation of all truth.
The Blind Contessa’s New Machine appears on the July 2010 Indie Next List. Check back with NLR for a full review later this week.
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-Post by Megan Shaffer
Carey Wallace also runs ‘The Hillbilly Underground.’ In its tenth year, the Underground is an arts retreat that welcomes a diverse group of artists to the Michigan lakeside for a precious ten day block of undisturbed creative freedom.