76 China Review International: Vol. 25, No. 1, 2018 Robert N. Spengler III. Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat. Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2019. xiv, 374 pp. Hardcover $34.95, ISBN 978-0-520-30363-8. Of late, the adjective “granular” and its nominal partner in crime, “granularity,” following a trendy decade of corporate and technology parlance in which they are used generally to signify “detailed” or “speciﬁc,” has progressed into ubiquitous use in everyday journalism and scholarship. A “granular reading” thus bespeaks a close attention to detail, but one that tends to forget, in our digital high-deﬁnition world, the more irritable connotations of granularity. And grains can be irritating. There used to be a time when a certain graininess, as with photographs, was thought of as detrimental, preventing clarity and deeper knowledge because that very granularity obscured the details beneath a shield of ambiguity. That was the conceit of Antonioni’s Blowup, in which a photographer thinks he may have inadvertently documented a murder, getting closer and closer to evidence as he blows up the photograph in his darkroom, and then veering away from that dogged pursuit by not only the disappearance of the material
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 6, 2020
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