“A quick ear and eye, an ability to discern the infinite suggestiveness of common things, a brooding meditative spirit, are all that the essayist requires.”
—Alexander Smith, “On the Writing of Essays”
So begins the first of eleven personal essays in Patrick Madden’s premiere collection, Quotidiana, and the truth of this statement comes to bear on the entire book. Here the author brings together meandering meditations on laughing, death, garlic, hope, gravity, family, asymptosy, singing, hepatitis, and finity. Nothing extraordinary as far as subject matter goes, perhaps, but apply the “quick ear and eye,” the discernment and meditation of a writer like Patrick Madden, and these essays form a collection that mines personal experience and leaves readers the richer for it.