Sunday, September 3, 2017
Crossing Harry, by Chris Knopf
Knopf is making his second appearance here.
I am very fond of what I call heightened language, which simply means that the words do something more than get us from the beginning of the story to the end. It doesn't have to been high-falutin' fancy words. Hemingway's monosyllabic language told us a lot about the world he was describing.
This story has a good plot but it is the language that puts it over the top. Here is our nameless protagonist, a homeless man, explaining his love of biology.
I'd loved it since I was a kid. I'd absolutely be hunched over a lab counter right now if I hadn't had that little hiccup with the voices in my head and the collusion of the Yale Board of Trustees, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the Satanic Monks of Aquitaine to deprive me of my undergraduate position.
Yeah, I hate it when that happens.
But our hero is pretty cheerful. He likes his "house [which] is this nice little spot under the railroad tracks that mostly keeps out the rain and snow."
Of course, some conflict must occur even in this paradise, and it takes the form of a very strange man at Union Station whom no one notices except the homeless man and Harry. Did I mention Harry? No one can see him except our narrator, because he's from another dimension. But Harry isn't the problem. It's the elegantly dressed man with a canvas bag full of-- well, nothing nice.
Don't worry, though. Our guy and Harry are on the case. And a terrific case it is.