Perhaps no other American author writes as expansively and insightfully as Lance Olsen about what it means to be alive at this place, at this time. The power of Calendar of Regrets comes from the ease with which it convinces its readers that the most astonishing thing about life is that we are here at all: the surreal visions of Hieronymus Bosch are no more vivid than the religious minds of suicide bombers; a tourist’s experience of an exotic country; or the moment when a teacher realizes that her students will never change. Page after page, Olsen places us in the position of those first travelers in hot-air balloons whose shift in perspective allowed them to see the world they lived within as though for the first time. The long view provided by the many private metamorphoses in this novel comprise a portrait of posthumanity where forms endure, and each of us is a time traveler through them: a tour de force of elegance, thought, and transcendence.
Olsen pulls it off and in consistently stunning ways.
Review of Contemporary Fiction
I'm completely sold.
Calendar of Regrets ultimately reminds us of the ways that art and narrative doggedly navigate that thin line between the drive for order and the deep-seated realization that th euniverse that greets us each morning has only increased its entropy.
A novel of echoes, reflections (sometimes inverted), and criss-crossing lines, Lance Olsen’s Calendar of Regrets locates nodes of intersection, spotlights the forgotten, and magnifies the unnoticed.
The Arts Fuse
A fascinating, complex work.
Salt Lake City Weekly
Calendar of Regrets is one of those wonderful monsters, the intellectual page-turner.
Open Letters Monthly
Lance Olsen misbehaves in all sorts of grave and playful ways. He throws Hieronymus Bosch in the mix with Agamemnon; God in the mix with the devil. Here are postcards, podcasts, and fairy tales; terrorism and angels; aphasia and aneurysym; bludgeonings and vacuous friendships. Calendar of Regrets is a spectacular synthesis, a wild ride through a free mind.