Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2007 

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“Indescribably beautiful, also indescribable. In fact, I’m not quite sure what this book’s about, really. Read it; remind yourself that comprehending things all the time is really boring.” —Daniel Handler, Entertainment Weekly

“Danielle Dutton writes with a deft explosiveness that craters the page with stunning, unsettling precision. Here ‘car lights like licorice whips slick the road outside the window,’ there ‘the puffed-thumb Emma person’ sways and falls, and everywhere ‘the firelight is orange against the midnight of the ocean.’ Her marvelous, generous Attempts at a Life proves that, like Gertrude Stein, she knows how to be ‘at once talking and listening.’” —Laird Hunt, author of Kind One

“A compelling, enigmatic read. Ideal for readers of the fiction and the literary essay alike, Danielle Dutton’s new book is a significant contribution to contemporary experimental writing.” —Kristina Marie Darling, Dogmatika

“Dutton’s characters, and they are vivid characters, all approach the world as if it were immovable in its construction and the ways it will hurt them. The narrator of ‘S&M’ writes, ‘What is it to walk away? Love treats my tongue like an oak leaf’ but doesn’t walk away. She, like Madame Bovary, like Alice James, is bound by others. Even Jane Eyre, precariously tied at the rib, becomes less the recipient of a happy ending than a life dangled out to the world, incomplete.” —Adam Peterson, Octopus

“Dutton’s work is incredibly inviting—she’s able to inhabit the insights of theory and then perform them without having to get bogged down in the sort of jargon or explanation that might deter the general reader (whoever you are). Dutton’s work is ‘accessible’ in the best way possible. She’s working at a remarkably high level of insight while still inviting you to enjoy yourself.” —Jason Schneiderman, Coldfront

“In section after section in Attempts at a Life, Danielle Dutton executes expert, miniscule language slips that make us slide down the surface of her narratives like raindrops streaking the windows of the last un-gentrified house in an old Victorian neighborhood. While Attempts at a Life may not present us with a fully formed artist in the mold of Stein and Picasso, it most certainly introduces an important new literary voice.” —Peter Conners, Rain Taxi

“These texts move across history, genre, and the history of genre (for this is a text that also observes). . . The influence of other texts upon the stories in Attempts at a Life functions as a story in and of itself. Collectively, these stories suggest that intertextuality also works as a form of parody—a vehicle which transforms our world, through our readings, back into the strange.”—Selah Saterstrom, American Book Review