>Although this was fun to read, and seems like it must have been fun to write, it doesn’t do enough for me to climb into the year’s top ten stories. Two young New Yorkers live together and worked in bookstores, worshipping books and, specifically, sentences within books, finding them so erotic that they enter into the couple’s lovemaking. They are particularly fond of the sentences of one author whom they dub the King of Sentences. They learn that he moved from Greenwich Village a long time ago (at about the time his book jacket photo was frozen in time) and they track him down to a post office where they go in hopes of meeting him. They’ve written a postcard of warning, so the police and the author are alerted. In the process of telling the story, Lethem allows himself to write some pretty great sentences of his own (although he apparently isn’t opposed to the occasional comma splice, I’m pleased to note).
“The King of Sentences only wrote, beavering away himself on a dam of quintessence, while wholly oblivious of public indifference and of a sales record by now likely descending to rungs occupied by poets.”
Heh. And then of course the climax of the story is the eventual meeting between these aspiring writers (the boy – they seem like children to me – has brought a manuscript with him to show the King) and I think that’s where opinions on the story will diverge. I didn’t love that scene. I’ll be interested to hear what others thought.
December 17, 2007: “The King of Sentences” by Jonathan Lethem