A Sentence, and Thoughts on a Death Scene

From the same book self was reading this morning, Karen Fisher’s A Sudden Country:

    The old dog had become a terrible thing, dull fur and architecture, the back of her tail raw from some disease.

Image is rather appalling but self does love a writer who can make of gross things a thing of beauty. Karen Fisher is a verbal stylist.

* * * *

Several hours later: MAJOR Spoiler Alert!

It is around midnight. Self has clawed her way to the very last 20 pages of this book. And, damn, the sentences which self already found so hard to decipher in the beginning (Fisher has what you might call a “difficult” writing style, maybe Proustian if it were not so damn fragmented), have now degenerated to this:

He wanted to speak because stories
But the words slipped and laughed, and they were gone.

She knew the character was dying 50 pages back (Because she cheated and read the reader reviews on Amazon.com!). She is absolutely amazed that the author could keep this inevitable death at bay for 50 — no, 60 — pages. That’s some trick! Self could have withstood it, but is quite unmanned by short sentences lacking all punctuation. Is in fact deeply offended. But, alas, she only has 10 more pages to go. So, having already gotten herself wet to her shoulders, she might as well go all the way in!

(Self would dearly love to address that very hardy and enduring pioneer, who’s been shot in the hip by a huge musket and still manages to balance on his horse 20 miles, and who’s been beaten and clubbed about the head but still manages to sit upright and utter poetic thoughts — of course, with no punctuation. And self would just like to say: DIE ALREADY! Because self hasn’t uttered a word to hubby and son in the last two hours! And it is so annoying but, at this point, she seems to have completely lost her grasp of what is happening. Is the hero alive? Dead? A hallucination? If a hallucination, whose? His wife’s? His lover’s? His children’s? Who is he addressing? Is it the reader? Is it a ghost? Is it the Nez Perce? Is it the Hudson Bay factor? Is it his horse? Can YOU PLEASE THINK DYING THOUGHTS IN COMPLETE SENTENCES, OR AT LEAST WITH COMMA PUNCTUATION???)

So amazing: when self writes a death scene — and she has written those: scads and scads of those, since she is possessed of an extremely MORBID imagination! — she gets it over with in two sentences.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.


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