Posts Tagged ‘Orange Juice’

“Orange Juice,” Personality, and Literature

Friday, November 19th, 2010

In the third-to-last paragraph of Timothy Willis Sanders’ new book, Orange Juice and Other Stories, from Awesome Machine Press, the protagonist sees six babies lying in a fountain. Four are lying in the fountain, and two are pissing into it. “This means something,” he says. “I just don’t care what.”

I could try to interpret what the author may have meant by placing that scene, that paragraph, those words in his book, particularly at the end of his book, but I want to point at it, nothing more.

Orange Juice is 52 pages long and includes nine stories. The stories are very short, the style is minimalist, the language straightforward. Sanders may have been influenced by Zachary German’s Eat When You Feel Sad, as evidenced by the use of minimalist declarative sentences mostly involving actions, the consistent specifying of brand names, and the presence of characters who have names but whose external appearance and internal thoughts are mostly withheld. The characters appear through actions and words.

But this book seems to have a very different personality than German’s book. More on personality later.

It is a very subtle book. “Orange Juice,” the first and titular story, manages to suggest, in two short pages, a tense, complicated, but largely unspoken conflict between a man, Bill, his girlfriend(?), Jeanie, and Jeanie’s son, Chris. And the sentences are like this: “Bill makes a list. He highlights and underlines ‘pulp-free Minute Maid.’ Chris walks through the kitchen and Jeanie catches him by the elbow. Chris jerks free.”

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