Suppose a Sentence

Suppose a Sentence

Brian Dillon

Original title: Suppose a Sentence
Publisher: Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020
Genre: Essays
Pages: 200 pages

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In Suppose a Sentence, Brian Dillon turns his attention to the oblique and complex pleasures of the sentence. A series of essays prompted by a single sentence – from Shakespeare to Gertrude Stein, John Ruskin to Joan Didion – the book explores style, voice, and language, along with the subjectivity of reading. Both an exercise in practical criticism and a set of experiments or challenges, Suppose a Sentence is a polemical and personal reflection on the art of the sentence in literature. Whether the sentence in question is a rigorous expression of a state of vulnerability, extremity, even madness, or a carefully calibrated arrangement, Dillon examines not only how it works and why but also, in the course of the book, what the sentence once was, what it is today, and what it might become tomorrow.

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New Statesman Books of the Year 2020 | TLS Books of the Year 2020 | Spectator Books of the Year 2020 | Observer Books of the Year 2020 | Lithub Books of the Year 2020

Dillon, with his Suppose a Sentence, a collection of reflections on the nature of the sentence, made me wonder why any of the rest of us bother trying to write non-fiction.

Ian Sansom, TLS

Each chapter focuses on a sentence chosen not for its historical importance, nor for its connection to the book’s other essays, but simply out of love. As Dillon puts it, his chief criterion is a sense of “affinity.” What emerges is a record of appreciation, a rare treasure in an age that rewards bashing.

Becca Rothfeld, New York Times

Brian Dillon

Brian dillon – credit chris dixon
Photo: Chris Dixon

Brian Dillon was born in Dublin in 1969. His books include Essayism, The Great Explosion (shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize), Objects in This Mirror: Essays, I Am Sitting in a Room, Sanctuary, Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) and In the Dark Room, which won the Irish Book Award for non-fiction. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Bookforum, frieze and Artforum. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches Creative Writing at Queen Mary, University of London.

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