Attempts at a Life
by Danielle Dutton
A Small Press Distribution Bestseller
Featured in “Ten Great Titles from Underground Presses” from Time Out New York
Fiction. Short stories. 90 pages. Paperback. 2007
Operating somewhere between fiction and poetry, biography and theory, the pieces in Attempts at a Life, though nominally stories, might indeed be thought of as “attempts.” They do what lively stories do best, creating worlds of possibility, worlds filled with surprises, but rather than bring these worlds to some sort of neat conclusion, they constantly push out towards something new. In “S&M,” a marriage suffers from “the words you were always missing: sky, loft, music, dogs, pipes, puppets, war.” In “Mary Carmichael,” a woman with a pair of scissors and the need to “cut out her insatiable desire” slices “a veiled hat from a fern in a pot” and “a river out of a postbox.” This is writing in which the imagination (both writer’s and reader’s) is capable of producing almost anything at any moment, from a shiny penny to an alien metropolis, a burning village to a bright green bird.