Amy Hollywood is the Elizabeth H. Monrad Professor of Christian Studies at Harvard Divinity School and a member of the Committee for the Study of Religion at Harvard University. She is most recently the author of Acute Melancholia and Other Essays: Mysticism, History, and the Study of Religion (Columbia, 2016) and, together with Constance M. Furey and Sarah Hammerschlag, Devotion: Three Inquires on Religion, Literature, and the Political Imagination (Chicago, 2021). She is currently working on a manuscript dealing with life and death, fiction and memory, the true and the real in Henry James and others.
Taubes’s novel continuously asks how we distinguish—if we can—between dreams, life, and books. Who or what speaks to the one who dreams? To the reader of a novel? Are dreams and novels and other kinds of books various mediums through which the dead speak? Can we hold this to be true while still honoring the dead as dead?