Two reviews in Times Higher Education
The June 19 Times Higher Education contains reviews of both Andrea Weiss’s In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story and William Davies King’s new book Collections of Nothing. Writing for THE Robert Gillett praises Weiss’s biography of Erika and Klaus Mann for its insightful look inside the lives of writer Thomas Mann’s two oldest children, revealing them to be serious artists in their own right, and their extraordinary yet tragic lives a bellwether for the era in which they lived.
And in the same issue reviewer Erika Marie Bsumek comments on the deep psychological self-exploration at the heart of King’s Collections of Nothing. Bsumek writes:
Despite the title of this book, King has collected something—and a lot of it. He has collected 44 varieties of tuna-fish labels, 276 varieties of water-bottle labels, and an unstated number of candy wrappers, bacon boxes, cigar bands, luggage tags, envelope liners, cereal boxes and more.
All of these things are meaningful to King, for to him they represent the psychological physicality of his life. Emotionally raw and intellectually honest, Collections of Nothing is part memoir and part chronicle of the human impulse to acquire things. King’s own impulse pushes beyond simple acquisition, for he sees value in the things that others overlook. His collecting impulse began, in his own words, with a pre-teen desire to fill up the emptiness in his life and to become “a collector/hero” worthy of his own story.