Lee Tandy Schwartzman's "Crippled Detectives"
June 27, 2011 8:21 PM   Subscribe

As much as any book I know, Crippled Detectives transcribes the dream state, not just in its flights of fancy and logic-jumping juxtapositions, but in the mutating narrative tactics, the topsy-turvy focus (the climax is over in a flash, whereas digressions distend to marvelous effect), and especially the inconsistent point of view... I forgot to mention that Lee Tandy Schwartzman was all of seven years old when she wrote it.
posted by Trurl (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Funny, all those elements are in wonderful effect in The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno, which is what I initially thought this post was about.

There's also the idea of an Encyclopedia Brown type characterhrowing to adulthood and being unable to hack it, falling into dreams of his glorious past and deeply medicated against his depression on Ativan.
posted by Skygazer at 8:40 PM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't trade it for my copy of In the Labyrinth
posted by nathancaswell at 8:43 PM on June 27, 2011

It's the sort of writing that, if you assume an adult wrote it, comes across as profound and insightful. However, knowing that a 7-year-old wrote it, it comes across as childish and uninspiring. Funny how that works.
posted by LSK at 9:15 PM on June 27, 2011

man i'm not even gonna bother if we're just gonna do another classic metafilter buzzkill
posted by facetious at 9:44 PM on June 27, 2011 [4 favorites]

Can someone do a post on Stone Soup, the magazine? That would be interesting.
posted by Nomyte at 9:56 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yeah, it does read like something a kid would write. If I saw it without any context, I imagine I would think it was written by a little kid.
posted by delmoi at 11:13 PM on June 27, 2011

I think Chapter Two: More Badness describes the next few months at my job.
posted by sanko at 11:15 PM on June 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's the sort of writing that, if you assume an adult wrote it, comes across as profound and insightful.

That says a lot more about you than it does about the writing.

I really like how kids incorporate bits of their own experiences or things they've overheard into stories, but don't necessarily flesh out the framework of the story, or provide the details or transitions that an adult would consider necessary for the story to make senes.
posted by dubold at 3:04 AM on June 28, 2011

They walked through the lobby hall until they came to a door with a sign on it which read: HEAD OF BAZAAR, MR. GRITS.

OK. She's reeled me in. It's Axe Cop in prose, and therefore ossum.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:46 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nice to see this here! The Ed Park piece - the Village Voice link - is fantastic, and maybe should be read first? I think that mentions The Young Visiters, which is also fantastic.
posted by with hidden noise at 6:02 AM on June 28, 2011

Like any girl or boy in the world knows, it is not very pleasant to wait unless you have something to amuse yourself. They thought hard about the matter, their heads hurt from thinking, but they dare not complain to their pleasant elderly 15-year-olds, Sylvia and Lee, who were sweet as everything in the bazaar that was good, charming as new blown silver, pink roses with hearts, sweeter than Venus herself to Ben and Lisette. Anne was lovely as a white rosebud half opened but never took the place of their charming elders, so they did as their elders asked, and doing their thinking was their wish. But as I have not told you before, Lisette was the smartest thinker in the group, so one day she came up with a marvelous idea.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 6:11 AM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Suddenly the guard woke up, saw their footprints, and pressed the alarm button. We heard it and hunted for the door to the room we had got into because the guard would be in another room guarding. Meanwhile it was way past suppertime.

Classic. Sneaking though an enemy base surrounded by explosives is one thing, but do you know how mad Mom and Dad are going to be if we're home late?
posted by CaseyB at 7:02 AM on June 28, 2011

I unironically want to read this. Thanks for this post!
posted by Lisitasan at 8:23 AM on June 28, 2011

I'd rather read gibbering digressions from a seven year old than from David Foster Wallace, but I'd rather stuff thumbtacks in my dick than do either so....
posted by jarvitron at 10:38 AM on June 28, 2011

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