Friday, May 3, 2024

R.A. Lafferty


R.A. Lafferty (1998)

R.A.  Lafferty writes linguistic sci fi, fantasy worlds made out of words. In his "Narrowing Valley," (The New Yorker, October 24, 2022), a homage to a Lafferty story entitled "Narrow Valley," Jonathan Lethem comments, "The past is huge, and real, but you are small. To reenter the valley of the past is, properly, to grow tiny, and to vanish." The "vanishing past" is the kind of idea Lafferty perpetrates. "In Our Block," a character named Art Slick says, "Girl, do you know how the fellow on the corner can ship a whole trailer load of material out of a space that wouldn't hold a ten of it?" "Sure. He makes it and loads it out at the same time. That way it doesn't take up space, like if he made it before that." Relativity showed how gravity was the warping of space and time. For Lafferty space takes on a life of its own, remanding the reader to a verbal blackhole. In "Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne," Lafferty writes, "Along about sundown in an unnumbered year, on the road from Nowhere to Eom an Avatar fell dead with a slippery elm dart in his heart." And in the eponymous "Narrow Valley," Willy McNilly asks his friend Clarence "what did one flat-lander say to the other?" "Dimension of us never got around," Clarence replies. Lafferty takes you not to a different, star or planet and or even coordinate in the space/time continuum. His is a universe of twisted sentences that like a carnival house of mirrors, turns perception upside down.

read Jonathan Lethem's "Narrowing Valley" by Francis Levy in

and listen to "Short People" by Randy Newman

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.