Impossibly by Laird Hunt
(serialized in bi-monthly installments in Flood:
Fence Magazine's online fiction annex (http://communities.iuniverse.com/bin/circle.asp?circleid=512)).
from the title, one feels gently suspended by Laird Hunt's The
Impossibly. Impossibly what? With no part of speech following
the adverb, the word becomes agitated, loosened from its moorings,
a wandering adverb in search of a word to modify.
Perhaps it will claim them all.
On the surface, the first installment,
"rain and sun," appears to be about surfaces: of language, of ordinary
actions, of chance meetings. The story opens with the narrator,
a foreigner in a city "split by a river," helping a woman pronounce
several words in this never-named foreign tongue. So she can buy
a stapler. And then he wanders off. To try to get the bottom of
whether his washer/dryer is still covered by warranty. To have tea
with a neighbor he has never met (and never encounters again.) To
stare at the ceiling of his apartment and listen to the river through
the walls. To buy a series of elaborate pens. Autumn passes swiftly
in this way.
It becomes apparent that these are
not just surfaces being described, but articulating surfaces, where
our exteriors brush up against or past each other. What lies beneath
always promises to break through, and usually does, but only for
a moment, a hypnotic flash of recognition that displays a tenuous
connecting thread. Then it vanishes.
The prose shivers with wonderment
and unearths a strange magic hidden in the familiar. The reader
is guided through a seeming dreamscape that just happens to be the
world, and is carried along by a taut sense of imminence throughout.
The sentences unfold like inviting mazes, digressing from or amplifying
matters, or circling back in on themselves. So it is a writing that
wanders as well, not with a frenetic, moth-ish restlessness, but
with a confident, grand, and thoroughly welcoming flow. Like a river
through a city.
Jorge Luis Borges once told an interviewer
that a writer "should be judged by the enjoyment he gives." The
abundance of pleasure in reading The Impossibly will have
people waiting anxiously for each installment and judging its author