It was only a small part of me, but so enlarged, so magnified, on a national scale, that it was like having a gross image of myself inflated into a giant parade balloon, floating above the crowd, my stubby arms helplessly extended, my face crudely painted in some fiendish expression designed for maximum impact.
— Mary Gaitskill, from Two Girls, Fat and Thin
Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
—Stephanie Grant, Guest Editor
Dorothy Never, the subject of a damning article written by a woman she thought she could trust, Justine Shade, feels terribly exposed. Her sense of exposure is expressed through a metaphor of amplification that is familiar without offering comfort; now the smallest aspect of the self stands in for the whole – a perverted synecdoche. Gaitskill’s language is straightforward and unsentimental and seems to take pleasure in the gruesome "stubby arms" and “fiendish expression” it depicts. The rhythm of the sentence is established early, by those nearly redundant clauses— “so enlarged, so magnified, on a national scale” —which help deliver the terrifying sense of inevitability that animates this sentence and much of Gaitskill’s work.
—Philip Dean Walker's short story collection At Danceteria is due out in October 2016 from Squares & Rebels