On Joyelle McSweeney’s Flet

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E. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News: A Word-Hoard

Once I’d encountered the word “hive-spangled” (a hyphenated compound that I’d imagine Hart Crane would have enjoyed using if not inventing outright—later I would come to find other gems like “blind-wrapped” and “ice-scabbed”) in E. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News I knew I’d enjoy reading it. In fact, the book’s weaving of muscular bluntness with a lapidary lexicon (its grace marred and balance tipped, at times, by a heavy-handedness) buoyed me along in a narrative using the metaphor of knots, the use of which served to create a suffocating tension relieved only by a somewhat disappointing tying of many of the story’s dangling threads.

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