Wave Books, Fall 2018

(Siglio, 2010 (out of print))

Finalist for The Believer Book Award, 2010

“Danielle Dutton’s unnamed narrator stalks through yards, streets, and her own house with such sharp perception that everything she encounters—cake trays, the doorbell’s ring, a dead body—becomes an object in her vast and impeccable still-life. Dutton’s sentences are as taut and controlled as her narrator’s mind, and a hint at what compels both (‘I locate my body by grounding it against the bodies of others’) betrays a fierce and feral searching. SPRAWL makes suburban landscapes thrilling again.” —The Believer Book Award, Editors’ Shortlist

“[SPRAWL] is a cousin of Woolf’s stream of consciousness, focused almost entirely outward, and constructs, in the mundane setting of an unnamed suburb, a world of unexpected intensity. Formally, SPRAWL treads deftly and deliberately . . . the vibrancy of the narrator’s exterior world is punctuated by brief moments of interiority expressed with succinct lucidity. The eerie, atmospheric prose eschews even paragraph breaks, reading as one long scroll; the spare formal structure clears space for Dutton’s language to stretch.” —Lauren Kane, The Paris Review Daily, “Staff Picks”

“Dutton’s mini-masterpiece—a womanly treatise on suburban decay and fatigued love—is a triumph! Each sentence should be celebrated for its hilarity, rigor, eccentricity, and passion. SPRAWL is the work of a brilliant mind.” —Deb Olin Unferth, author of Wait Til You See Me Dance

“A kind of Mrs. Dalloway in objects, a kind of performance piece melding stream-of-consciousness with commentary on photographer Laura Letinsky’s domestic still lifes, and at times one of the most philosophical accounts of contemporary suburban American existence and the ever-trenchant fetters of gender roles, Dutton’s SPRAWL is a book a reader might read in one sitting, but it will resonate for days to come—if not longer. . . . SPRAWL is that rare kind of book that will change one’s perception of what fiction can do.” —K. Thomas Khan, 3:AM Magazine

“[A]n extraordinarily original text.” —Kate Zambreno, The Believer

“At the heart of Danielle Dutton’s SPRAWL is a lavish, endless list of domestic objects . . . Borrowing techniques from fiction, poetry, and visual art (particularly photography), the book not only infuses each object, be it a juice glass or a paper napkin, with a Vermeeresque glow but arranges it into part of a verbal still life. The result? A fresh take on suburbia, one of reverence and skepticism. . . .  SPRAWL in fact does not sprawl at all; rather, it radiates with control and fresh, strange reflection.” —Leigh Newman, Bookforum

“While reading it, I felt as if Thoreau had left Walden Pond and now strolled Happy Hollow Shoppes, notebook in hand.” —Dennis Barone, Hartford Courant

“[A] sheer delight and I highly recommend you check it out.”—Brad Johnson, owner East Bay Booksellers

Sprawl is not an essay but feels like essay—spreading out one’s thinking on the page, on many pages . . . On the page of essay, we encounter not ourselves but a voluminous representation of something like ourselves that makes us feel visible to ourselves and to others and connected to something totally other that may or may not be sentient. . . . Thank you, Ms. Dutton, for making this book, Sprawl. I am alone but not feeling lonely.” —Jay Ponteri, Essay Daily

“This experimental novel is best read in a single sitting and, like the photographs that inspired it, can be viewed in any number of ways, with a different effect each time.” Publishers Weekly

“It is an original approach to a conventional subject, a challenge to the basic ingredients of novels (setting, character development, point of view), and a reinvestigation of Victorian fascination with the inner lives of distraught, socially confined women. Dutton’s rendition, because of its strict commitment to continuous run-on feels strange and new, even while echoing Molly Bloom’s exasperated soliloquy at the end of Joyce’s Ulysses.” —Cora Fisher, The Rumpus

“Dutton is not the first writer to explore the paradoxical nature of contemporary suburbia; Updike, Cheever, and Roth, among others, have already investigated this terrain. Yet Dutton has found her own perspective on the subject, and a formal balance between experiment and simplicity, critique and appreciation. Yes, SPRAWL heaps volumes of satire on suburbia. Here, however, suburbia is in on the joke, and returns our gaze.” —Erin Becker, Make Magazine