Sunday, October 11, 2009

10. "never get up, and if you do, never say where you are"

Renee Gladman's Newcomer Can't Swim, published by Kelsey Street Press in 2007, is like an almost-boring dream, also like following a map for the wrong city, also like a Tarkovsky film.  Or rather,  these things are what the book is "about" (sort of).  It's written in that kind of matter of fact prose that spares you most of the creative-writing details.  It's a set of directions you find on a piece of paper and try to follow:

"You said Liberty was on the corner of Travail and Jonathan, and I can't believe I let you get away with that"

and can almost follow, but then can't.  You are in the wrong place and/or these directions were not written for you. Still you kind of get there. 

There is also this woman on the ground, this woman on the floor, this woman on a bolted chair, this woman confused and "staring into the intersection all wrong."

Here is all this slow longing for something with the almost impossibility of moving toward it, yet all through the book things manage, in that mix of inertia and desire, to move:

"You've got to go somewhere with someone, the equation said."


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