Submitted by Susanne Bacon
Have you ever read Thomas Mann in the German original? Did you find that he wrote sentences as long as two large pages, and in the middle of one of those you lost it and had to turn the page back again to start over? The kind of sentences my school teachers would have berated me on and my mom would have called tapeworm sentences?
The other day I came across an entire book of such sentences, but it was actually much more fun to read than those Mann sentences. “One Sentence Stories. Book # 2” is an anthology comprising obvious writing fun. Lakewood citizen Val Dumond has compiled and edited this book, presenting 44 authors.
The stories are all based on the idea that “a sentence can be made longer”, and that was the challenge Dumond and her publishing house Muddy Puddle Press put out there. In the end, the shortest one-sentence story of the book consists of 203 words, the longest of 1989. Some are easy to read because your mind places a period where the author put a conjunction. Others are using the stream-of-consciousness technique James Joyce became so (in)famous for. I got a giggle out of Jeff Laskowski’s 232-word story that he finishes off with a ten-word-summary. Donna Lee Anderson, author of the touching romance “Project Emily”, surprised me with two murderous plots in 558 and 706 words. Val Dumond tells a harrowing Fourth of July story in 950 words. Michael Miller delivers the longest sentence with a philosophical and beautifully descriptive love declaration to the Pacific Northwest.
As a linguist I certainly had additional fun analyzing the ways these sentences all work. I have to admit I was sorely tempted to review this unusual book in kind (as you can see, I didn’t, after all). Just let me say it’s a mind-challenging, very amusing book probably for both, the authors as well as us readers. “One-Sentence Stories. Book # 2” (ISBN 978-0998548920) has been published in spring, counts 161 pages, and is available for $ 15.95.