Who Is My Mind? On David Connor’s “Oh God, the Sun Goes”

Who Is My Mind? On David Connor’s “Oh God, the Sun Goes”

This is my favorite ride. One seems to move so far, and yet in reality one gets nowhere. —Tortoise in Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, and Bach (1979) It was all a dream. —The Notorious B.I.G. IF WE MUST continue, then we must take a moment to trace our steps. Who among us has not forgotten that they've forgotten something? Remember: thoughts come to us, not us to them, and David Connor will not let us forget that in his debut , Oh God, The Sun Goes (2023). How seriously and playfully emergent—a poem pretending to be a novel that, somewhere along the way, forgot it was a dream. Just like you. Just like me. In so many ways, it is “rational” to constantly and passively reject the dreams we have, the dreams we are, and the dreams we come from for the sake of who we “really” are in the “real” world—for our real names. But this novel is not a rational one; Connor—an American research assistant at the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research in Montréal, Canada—invites us early on to question the limits between scientific and dreamt reality. So it is that the protagonist of this is like many of us—deep in his dreams, he is nameless. Music becomes essential in a blank place like this: from the start, lyrics (e.g. Bill Withers, the Fleetwoods, Donna Summer, John 1:1) float in and out of this story to nudge us through this slippery nonsensicality—benevolent little clouds commenting on the faces and places the narrator encounters. But it is imperative to call the first lyric of this story its very title: “Oh God,” the sun goes. This is the true announcement of a collapse in space-time. Sentiments are celestial here. So where does this mysterious narrator fit into such a matrix? It's not immediately clear at the start, and only a little clearer by the end. And “The Sun”—our errant hero expressing her nameless epiphany? For she is gone: The sun is missing the instant we set foot in this seemingly infinite […]

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