Date of Award
Master of Arts
This collection of stories works in fragments, segments. They dangle, resonate, and accumulate. In some ways, they're grotesques, or modern horror stories - broken, split. Characters are isolated and rarely come into contact with each other. When they do, it's often disastrous or telling. It leaves a stain. The stories deal with emotional entropy, the natural pulling-apart of relationships. Dis-integration is a fitting description for the central motion in many of these stories. They are retreats, (dulled) hopes for escape. The action is often static, tied-down or bound; it's often that of nonaction with consequence. At the same time, the prose itself turns, becomes lyric, takes on significance. Especially at the endings. Endings are, more than anything else, isolations. Nothing follows an ending. White space.;Quiet. An ending is the beginning of resonance - the freeing of accumulated detail, emotion, language that builds throughout the story. Endings in these stories are the key points. They're tiny deaths. Realizations of absence. The shortness of the pieces and their segmented, punctuated nature is borne out in the thematic underpinnings - the concern with death and absence. In some ways, by the time they end, the stories become about the ending, the death, even the act of writing or creation. The idea of death that moves through each of these stories, silent, like ice, or the water beneath it, is final, and finally the most important image/idea that the stories encounter and have to grapple with. These stories seem to suggest that the only answer, the one way left to cope with it - this final, necessary absence - is through resonance in language: bright, strange, solipsistic, compelling in its own force and possible transcendence.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Ander Sannes Monson
Monson, Ander Sannes, "Endings and what's left: Lyric, segmented stories" (1999). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 16146.