Jake Silverstein – Nothing Happened and Then It Did: A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction

Author: Jake Silverstein
Genre: Non-fiction/Adventure/Travel

“I do not wish to deceive by passing off fiction as fact, as so many have done, only to permit the real to mingle with the imagined, as it does in the deserted labyrinth of the mind.”

Jake Silverstein’s hilariously disrupted search for purpose in some of the driest areas of the United States and Mexico takes him from small town tedium to buried treasure to highway racetrack. As Silverstein finds career and writing leads misleading, incomplete, or just plain false, he brings us a story that’s fantastic in several senses of the word.

Silverstein’s levelheaded prose carries us through settings extraordinary and mundane. Brilliant observations are thoughtfully nestled within a reporter’s flow. Though his bemused voice remains reasonable, Silverstein proves as obsessive and eccentric as the people he encounters. Parts of the book clash then collaborate in a manner akin to that of his passions: poetry and journalism. Historical parallels are well researched and aptly placed, though some comparisons take up too much of a page. Yet all asides become indispensable in a distinct portrait of this arid region and its peoples.

Amidst the whispers of writers living and dead, Nothing Happened and Then It Did stands stubborn, strong — outside the current of times and trends. It is a road novel whose subject is the search for a topic. What emerges on that journey is an examination of identity: of writing, of nations, of truths and of the author himself. The very existence of this book becomes a sort of epilogue, reassurance that Silverstein must triumph sometime.

In the desert, truth is a mirage. Chasing that mirage makes for many a great story.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Diandra Rodriguez

Proudly Latinasian NorCal American.

2 Responses

  1. Camiele says:

    Beautifully written review. As you pointed out, this book seems to mix poetry and journalism quite effectively — two of my passions as well as Silverstein’s, it seems. I’ll have to see if I can give it a read sometime in the near future.

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