Permission: A Novel
S. D. Chrostowska
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Consisting of anonymous e-mail messages sent by the author to an acclaimed visual artist over the course of a year, Permission is the record of an experiment: an attempt to forge a connection with a stranger through the writing of a book, and thus a search for fellowship in solitude, as well as a testimony to the isolating effects and creative possibilities of the digital age.
With reveries touching upon the insipid landscape of post-Cold War Poland, the elongated shadows of the Holocaust, and the narrator's "safe passage" to America, Permission not only updates the "epistolary novel" for our time by embracing the permissiveness we associate with digital communication, it opens up a new literary frontier.
winter’s night expecting to be surprised, if not by the atmosphere then at least by his heady ingenuity, because of course I believed in him during the entire time I was away in America. My wish to see him in his artistic prime was almost granted when, after greeting those present, I took a look around his living space, which was now the empty swimming pool in his basement. This was a pool I still remembered crossing with breaststrokes during one of the fabulous birthday parties I attended here
historical event. If you are against it, you are fundamentally good, if you are for it, or deny it existed, you are fundamentally ill, evil, or both. Even if you test positive, you cross-examine yourself on the degree of your positivity: am I compassionate enough—are there limits to my tolerance—am I really free of prejudice? If one is drawn to violence and death (the result of violence, of one’s justice and another’s injustice) one cannot help turning into a pessimist. If one is attracted to
accident, averted by a hair’s breadth, between two horse-drawn carriages set on a collision course with each other—one of them a mail-coach, his favorite writing vehicle, his writing-machine. He explains its appeal, first, through its velocity, second, through the “grand effects for the eye between lamp-light and the darkness upon solitary roads,” third, through the beauty of its four horses, fourth, through the presence of a “central intellect,” which “in the midst of vast distances, of storms,
Mercury, but at the Café-Bar Favory lethargy and comity were always the order of the day. At most, from time to time someone would get the itch to show off their boxing skills. What’s a broken nose? (Sad to think how Favory went under: boarded up after several years as a money-laundering beauty parlor.) The next day I drifted around the neighborhood, feeding pigeons along train tracks and smoking near the citadel, where I chanced upon my friend Vitold, and first we went to Vitold’s house on
discipline”!). I am not, of course, disparaging wholesale the work of scholarship, only the complacency of much of the printed knowledge coming out of universities and produced by insecure university employees. This work is all about security. It is only of instrumental use to the individual who produced it. However, regardless of its quality, this literature accumulates in the “knowledge bank” that is the university. You open these scholarly publications—even the very best ones, across the arts