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c joseph greaves, hard twisted

“The gamecocks met like windblown newsprint, clapping and rising and tumbling downward in the grasp of a phantom whirlwind, feathers flying and blood arcing in crimson pinwheels. The crowd, red-mouthed and savage, was a sea of corded necks and pumping fists.”

On the one hand: that’s really an evocative image, at least the first clause. On the other: that’s a lot of iambs and unexamined metaphors. Which pretty much characterizes the narrative style throughout, almost baroque in its ornamentation. So that at the end of the chapter, putting a drunk to bed, this is unremarkable:

“They sat him down and loosened his tentfly, and they eased him like some prostrate catechumen into a canvas baptismal.”

Bloomsbury USA 11.13.12

November 15, 2012, 11:00am   Comments

blake butler, there is no year

“Usually the cable’s crap connection delivered all the channels with a rind of fuzz. The screen would sometimes spurt and bubble with long rips of swish, often in the most important moments of a program, or at least the moments the person watching would most like to see. The cable company had sent several repairmen with no success. Several of the men had fallen off the roof, cracked bones or bruises. One of the men had lost his thumb.”

Not quite a random paragraph, but close enough to serve as a core sample. Most everything is here: the banality of the situation and the problem in poor cable reception; the swooping diction and exuberant images (spurt and bubble with long rips of swish, which only makes sense in an onomatopoeic or imagistic way); the sense of decay (rind of fuzz); the breakdown of grammar (cracked bones or bruises); the touch of macabre in the lost thumb.

Harper Perennial 04.05.11

April 09, 2011, 7:57am   Comments

justin taylor, the gospel of anarchy

"They already lived outside capitalism’s kingdom, in the gutter that ran along the base of its foritfied wall, not beyond but below its field of vision — except of course when they got caught stealing, but they were pretty ace thieves by this point. We might be trapped in this fucked, fallen world, Parker said, but that is not the same as being of it. When Katy and Thomas professed themselves anarchists, Parker insisted that this meant they were already Christians, for in his mind the two were cut from the same cloth and together formed a single shining garment, the armor of faith."

This is nice, right? Not just the imagery, the gutter at the castle wall, repeated in the armor of faith, but also in the allegiance of Christianity and anarchism. Especially within the book’s time and place — ‘99 into 2000, crust-punk fringes of a big southern college town — this is a plausible vision, a combination that makes sense as the basis of a mythology.

Harper Perennial 02.08.11

February 23, 2011, 11:19am   Comments