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Kathryn HarrisonUltimately, Blue Arabesque isn’t a memoir so much as it is a paean to the act of seeing, celebrating our capacity to be transformed by the truths art holds, recognizing them as . . . holy. “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled,” John Berger writes in Ways of Seeing. On Photography, by Susan Sontag, identifies a “heroism of vision” and finds “everyday life apotheosized” in image. Patricia Hampl’s determination to occupy the space between the eye and its object and her success at articulating the mysterious transactions therein grants her authority among writers like Berger and Sontag, who not only sit and stare but see. Read Blue Arabesque and you too might mistake — or exchange — art museums for churches.
— The New York Times