The Twoness of Oneness

Critical Praise for the epigrams of Thomas Farber

To blurb an epigrammist? Farber–whose wit deserves a whole page–does it himself: "Writer: Someone who can't go without saying."

-- Terese Svoboda, author of Black Glasses Like Clark Kent's

In an epoch of soundbites and compression for cretins, the epigram's hour has come again–brevity for grownups. Thomas Farber, modern master of this ancient form of terse dialectics, has marshalled a second collection of gems. Polychromatic, impure. More agate than diamond.

--Iain Boal, author of The Devil's Glossary

Tom Farber's Truth Be Told offers the sort of wicked pleasures to be found in Gustave Flaubert's A Dictionary of Platitudes; here the great fun is (un)leavened by some equally engaging, astute critical prose on the subject of the text: epigrams. The end.

--Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of An Almost Perfect Moment

Tom Farber's Truth be Told does more than compact the world into the essence perceived by its idiosyncratic compositor. It also hints at an expansive hidden narrative of sex, death, joy and despair. In short, as the author presumably prefers all things, it may be an epigramasterpiece.

--Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of A Faker's Dozen

The publication of novelist/publisher Thomas Farber's fourth book of epigrams, "The Twoness of Oneness," was celebrated at La Peña on Wednesday, with a screening of an Andrea Young video in which the author explained his passion for the form. Farber said he has problems with the "white space" of poetry, but many of the epigrams seemed not unlike haikus. The next day, I asked him to cite one that had to do with the new president: 'Freud argued hate is older than love, which could mean it'll die first.

--Leah Garchik,
San Francisco Chronicle

Thomas Farber sums it up well, the paradox of writing aphorisms, a process that involves attempting to write something very very big in a format that is very very small: "Such an odd form: to strive for compression, verbal surprise, paradox, shock, rueful acknowledgment, or revelation of moral blindness may bring out one's own oddities … Focusing, laser-like, on a single line—erotics of the irreducible; or working on a tiny canvas, like the 1970s artist who painted imaginary postage stamps." Farber crams a lot into his own sayings, which he refers to as epigrams more often than as aphorisms. Many are miniature novellas—-a glimpse of some hinted-at encounter, a one-sided dialogue with characters only known as 'he' or 'she'... His sayings can be found in the books Truth Be Told and The Twoness of Oneness.

--James Geary, All Aphorisms All the Time