Siglio, 2010

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. S P R A W L makes suburban landscapes thrilling again.” —The Believer Book Award, Editors’ Shortlist

“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. S P R A W L 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 S P R A W L is a book a reader might read in one sitting, but it will resonate for days to come—if not longer. . . . S P R A W L is that rare kind of book that will change one’s perception of what fiction can do.” —K. Thomas Khan, 3:AM Magazine

“Danielle Dutton’s S P R A W L reads as if Gertrude Stein channeled Alice B. Toklas writing an Arcades Project set in contemporary suburbia. Dutton’s unnamed housewife roams sidewalks and manicured lawns like one of Benjamin’s flaneurs, reminiscent of the contemporary urban walkers of Renee Gladman’s stories or Gail Scott’s My Paris. But this novel is like other works, and it is not—it is both unabashedly voracious in terms of literary sources and an 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

“In our instant age, Dutton’s ‘Sprawl’ seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to reach me (due to a shipping error), but this wonder of poetic prose, snippets of dialogue and unusual juxtapositions of ordinary words was well worth the wait. 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

“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. Gertrude Stein’s tender inventories can also be heard throughout, along with Dutton’s sustained deadpan verging on sarcasm.” —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, S P R A W L heaps volumes of satire on suburbia. Here, however, suburbia is in on the joke, and returns our gaze.” —Erin Becker, Make Magazine