Thursday, September 15, 2011

that tin-bright vision

Last Thursday I saw Christine Schutt read her story ‘The Blood Jet’ at the Housing Works Bookstore in Manhattan. I’ve been to over one-hundred readings by fiction writers but this was the most moving. It wasn’t that she performed it so much as she channeled it. But of course what better reader was there? Schutt had worked over those words, those sentences, those movements–she’d created it out of air. Once there had been a blank page and then there was ‘The Blood Jet.’ It’s an angry piece, people treat each other like slop, but the female narrator admits her wrongdoings as well, her naivete. Schutt busted out this murky tune like Coltrane spilling ‘Dear Old Stockholm’ on his eponymous album. She’d didn’t waver at all, the sentences spun, the inflections rose and sank and we were left mesmerized. I started to watch people in the audience. They weren’t moving, they weren’t coughing. The record for the least number of text messages sent during a reading fell. Greg Gerke on The Big Other

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