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Experimental Novella: American Social


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American Social (Opening Chapter)

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American Social (Opening Chapter)


Paul lives in a bad neighborhood and cannot seem to pull his life together. Suffering from extreme insomnia, his present and past merge together without warning. If that weren't enough, someone has stolen his identity and is draining what little savings he has. What follows is a dark, ambitious romp through a surreal cityscape, told from the first person perspective of a man who's trying to avoid losing his mind.

The Theory:

Told in a style that is as humorous as it is disturbing, random gaps of space occur throughout the narrative in a way that can be jarring and frustrating. The theory behind these gaps is that traditional space breaks temporarily disrupt the reader's suspension of belief; the reader knows that an end has occurred and that, once the narrative continues, a specific amount of time will have passed. Paul, as a character, however, suffers from extreme sleep deprivation. As such, because this story is told from his point of view, I want the reader to be trapped within his mentality through all stages of the novel. To accomplish this, traditional methods of punctuation would not adequately reflect his consciousness. Where the narrator loses consciousness, so does the reader, with both hoping to recollect what occurred in these instances of "lost time." It is a technique that, as critiqued in class workshops, will confuse and annoy some people, but the overall response to the technique has been positive.