, 2010 - Fiction
- 143 pages
Fiction. An absurdly comic and decidedly digressive novel, S P R A W L chronicles the mercurial inner life of one suburban woman. With vertiginous energy and a deadpan eye, the narrator records the seeming uniformity of her world--the dissolving marriage, crumbs on the countertop, the drunken neighbor careening into the pool, a dead dog on the side of the road--constructing surprising taxonomies that rearrange the banalities, small wonders, and accouterments of suburban life. As the abundance and debris accumulate, the sameness of suburbia gives way to enthralling strangeness. We suddenly feel the force of orbit when only moments before the world felt infinitely flat. Inspired by a series of domestic still lifes by photographer Laura Letinsky, Dutton creates her own trenchant series of tableaux, attentive to the surfaces of the suburbs and the ways in which life there is willfully, almost desperately, on display. In locating the language of sprawl itself--engrossing, unremitting, ever expansive--this novel takes us deep into the familiar and to its very edge.