This collection of more than twenty-five essays, both meditative and formally inventive, considers all kinds of subjects: everyday objects such as keys and hats, plus concepts of time and place; the memoir; writing; the essay itself; and Michael Martone's friendship with the writers David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, and Kurt Vonnegut. Throughout the essays, Martone's style expands with the incorporation of new technological platforms. Several of the pieces were written specifically for online venues, while the essays on the death of Martone's mother and father were written on Facebook while the events happened. One essay about using new technologies in the classroom was written solely in tweets.
Brooding-the book's title and the title of an essay-draws a parallel between the disappearance of early browsers and the emergence, after seventeen years, of a brood of cicadas. Throughout these essays Martone's words inhabit spaces where the reconnection to people in the past and the metaphors of electronic memory converge.
Michael Martone is a professor of English at the University of Alabama. He is the author of several books, including The Flatness and Other Landscapes, Unconventions: Attempting the Art of Craft and the Craft of Art, and Racing in Place (all Georgia). His stories and essays have appeared in Harper's, Esquire, Story, Antaeus, North American Review, Benzene, Epoch, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, Third Coast, Shenandoah, BOMB, and other magazines.