Sentence by Sentence & Story by Story (2): ‘A Pursuit’
My sentence to keep from this story (I can’t say favorite anymore, as there are too many, but choices hereon will be considered strong and representative at once):
Would it help if I were to swear to you, by the deceased individual of your choice, that I had nothing to do with my first ex-wife’s demise, assuming she is in fact dead?
This sentence, itself a whole graph in the text, is wonderful again not only for its Evensonian use of odd familial tags such ‘first ex-wife’ (I always go back to his ‘The Ex Father,’ and those weird overtones of relationship bounds), but for how it manages to begin to drag the reader (the ‘you’) as an entity into the text, another relationship that will continue to be put to use in the extremely odd and Bernhard-ian summoning that goes on in this text.
As I discuss in the full story review, Evenson is a master of blurring the lines of his occurrences, here as delivered on behalf of the narrator, in such a way that it is not only hard to condemn or not condemn the actions of the central figure, it also blurs the body of that narrator with the body of the reader, in such a way that the reading itself becomes an experience. You are caught in the narrator’s ongoing waddle into his own mind. You follow him along terrain that will not hold, etc.
The question is a question that eats the space out from between the reader and the narrator itself, which, how much more could you ask from a single line?