Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Sum Greater Than Its Parts

Courtesy of PANK’s generous giveaway, I received Sean Lovelace’s HOW SOME PEOPLE LIKE THEIR EGGS. I read it in one sitting. I read it again, carefully. I read it a third time, savoring.

I am a narrative writer, and hold a preference for traditional stories and writing. They’re the biases and prejudices I bring to my reading. Yet I also have a healthy respect and admiration for writing that doesn’t make so much sense as makes art, makes meaning.

This collection holds deep meaning. It recalled for me Beckett’s work: sometimes arbitrary in construction and always threaded through with the agnostic’s rage against the arbitrary cruelty of life.

I must also admit that I don’t like eggs. I don’t think that affected my reading of the collection’s title story. Still, “how some people like their eggs” was my least favorite work here. While it left me luke-warm, I did appreciate its imagination and inventiveness.

I loved “Meteorite,” the collection’s first story. It’s a narrative about friendship, love, leukemia, and loss. It rails against the arbitrary cruelty of life. It also testifies to the strength and endurance of the human spirit.

I like how “Meteorite” opened. I like how it introduced the two main characters. I like how we see our narrator struggling to find the right words even as he knows there are no right words. I like how Lovelace uses the 10 Commandants for Cancer Survival. I like how Paige reacted to the crushing news, twisting expectations. I like the art of selection here, what’s left in and what’s left out. I love the last paragraph, its imagery and that last heartbreaking, breathtaking line.

I like how HOW SOME PEOPLE LIKE THEIR EGGS felt in my hands and played in my head. It is a sum greater than its parts. Get it here from Rose Metal Press. Enjoy.

Congratulations, Sean.

1 comment:

  1. My copy arived yesterday. I'm looking forward to reading it.