Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta - review by Hannah Rosefield

Hannah Rosefield

‘Self-curate or disappear’

Stone Arabia


Canongate Books 239pp £14.99

‘History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.’ This is the definition of history attributed to fictional historian Patrick Lagrange in Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending. In its fussy, pseudo-academic way, Lagrange’s aphorism captures the thesis of Barnes’s novel. In Stone Arabia, which reads like The Sense of an Ending’s younger, cooler sister, Dana Spiotta has her antihero Nik Worth express the same idea rather more pithily: ‘Self-curate or disappear.’

Nik Worth (real name Nikolas Kranis) knows a thing or two about self-curation – and about disappearance. Briefly and moderately famous twenty-five years ago as the lead singer of the Fakes, he now lives in an out-of-the-way part of California’s Topanga Canyon, working in a bar and spending his spare

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