The Strange, Pristine Sentences of Gary Lutz

Adam Wilson at Bookforum:

Lutz’s stories are resistant to summary, not because nothing happens in them, but because it can be difficult to decipher what does. For Lutz, narrative is a by-product of language, not the other way around, and it unfolds musically rather than logically, resulting in sharp shifts and turns that are hard to track. I’m pretty sure, for example, that one story involves a man being fitted for dentures made in the molds of houses he lived in as a child, but I wouldn’t put money on it. I’m slightly more confident that another involves the use of a tennis racket in a backroom orchiectomy. The opacity is by design. These stories glory in language, but Lutz also seems to suggest that it’s an insufficient tool for representing experience. Characters constantly worry they’re not providing the right details or explaining things correctly. Their statements are subject to endless retractions and qualifications, and their cataloguing and quantifying never quite add up. The linguistic acrobatics can be read, in part, as a futile rebuff against the limits of expression.

more here.