Wave Books, 2018 (with an Afterword by Renee Gladman)

(Siglio Press, 2010)

Finalist for The Believer Book Award, 2011

“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, first published in 2010, is a stream-of-consciousness collage of domesticity and intimacy, the unwavering assertion of a suburban woman’s individuality and selfhood that never loses its sense of humor.” —Lauren Kane, The Paris Review Staff’s Favorite Books of 2018

“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 . . . 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. . . Dutton deconstructs narratives of femininity navigated in the blank space of the day, calling to mind the domestic surrealism of another poet of the everyday, Lydia Davis, and also the bizarre eroticism of Diane Williams.” —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

“Rereading SPRAWL in the new edition—a novel that remains unlike anything I’ve read before—made me recall the sensation of first reading Virginia Woolf’s The Waves. Like The Waves, SPRAWL radically reorients the reader to what the narrative space of a novel can be and do, and, most memorably, how that can feel. Consisting of a single paragraph spanning more than a hundred pages, the strange bakelite surface of the novel’s prose creates a retro-futurist scene. Is the novel set in a 1950s white-picket-fenced suburbia made ever stranger? or is it set in an ecologically doomed near-future? At its center is an impressionistic portrait of a couple consisting of the narrator and her husband, Haywood, but this is treated less as a plotted narrative drama of a relationship and more like a David Attenborough documentary studying the mating and nesting rituals of a particular specimen pair of the aspirational white middle class (if Attenborough were an alien observer). The novel is imbued with deep observational analysis (consumption as competition, even sport; the economics of homemaking and desire).” —John Vincler, Music & Literature

“Wave Books re-released this little masterpiece in 2018, and thank goodness, because, subconsciously, I have been searching everywhere for the present-day Georges Perec. . . . no matter how you read the book, whether as novel or a poem, SPRAWL is the suburban homemaker’s response to ‘Howl’ and should be read by all, especially those living blindly, waiting for The American Dream to pop up.”—Cody Lee, New Pages

“It was something Danielle Dutton could do that not many others had done (maybe Gertrude Stein had done it or Virginia Woolf): it was to write a world that was closed, that was full of everything you knew but also closed to your knowing yet electrified your knowing from across a field.”—Renee Gladman, from the Afterword

“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

“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

“Dutton’s groundbreaking SPRAWL . . . jams Lisa Robertson’s intelligence and music into a Jane Austen-ish scrutiny of the manner of being in those new landscapes we continue to call ‘suburbs.'”—Matthew Stadler

“[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”

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

“Just when it seemed that suburbia was going to be strangled in its own entrails, a victim of peak oil, collapsing infrastructure, and credit card debt, here comes Danielle Dutton to show us how magical that sprawls is after all. . . . Dutton’s SPRAWL is a different kind of sprawling: it reaches forth, takes up, and redeems. Here, the same old something is something else again.” —Curtis White

“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