Week Two: Fifteen Years On


Setting of UBT: H has shifted from Poor Historian to Trout Man Tavern, which is now owned by Horace, managed by Paula, and haunted by Mr. Brown, who is finally fully retired. Funes Pere walks the tavern dog and can basically read her deaf mind. Horace’s anosmia becomes harder to disguise when he is asked for drink recommendations. Mr. Brown too is no longer trying to hide the margins of his uncanny nature. Horace as host must dance and parry between his limitation, UBT’s big mouth, and their long shared history.

To make these scenes as appealing to a reader like me as possible, it is most likely beneficial to have a narrator not only omniscient, but outside the text enough to offer cultural or historical context and even critique of this or that – an opinionated narrator, but in a subtle way. I think of Thomas Hardy – but also apposite would be the approach of soft sci-fi sociological reportage of Iain M. Banks or Doris Lessing or Ursula K. LeGuin.

So many telling objects can be found in a place like a townie bar. That would make the process of making this fiction more fun, because one thing that is easy for me to do as a writer is offer anthropological or cultural-critical commentary.

(james agee)