Here is an indispensable tool for anyone seeking an authoritative, up-to-the-minute understanding of the phenomena of everyday life and willing to accept that anything utterable can also be true. An astounding debut, The Age of Wire and String is a feat of fierce innovation and humor.
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Ben Marcus is the author of Notable American Women and The Age of Wire and String. His work has appeared in "Grand Street, Harper's, McSweeney's, Conjunctions, "and elsewhere. The recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, a Whiting Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant, he is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Columbia University and lives in New York City.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
From Sleep: Intercourse with Resuscitated Wife: Intercourse with resuscitated wife for particular number of days, superstitious act designed to insure safe operation of household machinery. Electricity mourns the absence of the energy form (wife) within the household's walls by stalling its flow to the outlets. As such, an improvised friction needs to take the place of electricity, to goad the natural currents back to their proper levels. This is achieved with the dead wife. She must be found, revived, and then penetrated until heat fills the room, until the toaster is shooting bread onto the floor, until she is smiling beneath you with black teeth and grabbing your bottom. Then the vacuum rides by and no one is pushing it, it is on full steam. Days flip past in chunks of fake light, and the intercourse is placed in the back of the mind. But it is always there, that moving into a static-ridden corpse that once spoke familiar messages in the morning when the sun was new. Snoring, Accidental Speech: Snoring, language disturbance caused by accidental sleeping, in which a person speaks in compressed syllables and bulleted syntax, often stacking several words over one another in a distemporal deliverance of a sentence. The snoring person can be stuffed with cool air to slow the delivery of its language, but perspiration froths at key points on the hips and back when artificial air is introduced, and thus the sleep becomes sketchy and riddled with noise. It is often best to cull the sleeper forth with apneic barks--sounds produced without air. The effect of the barks is to isolate each aspect of the snore sound by slowing down the delivery--riding the sleeper until the snore breaks into separate words. Decoders should sit on the bed and jostle the sleeper's stomach. This further dispatches the clusters that often form when the sleeper speaks all at once (snores). The decoder is then better able to decipher the word blocks. When analyzed, the messages are often simple. Pull me out, they say, the water has risen to the base of my neck.
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