Staff Picks: Exit, Pursued

Karsten recommends Exit, Pursued by Dalton Day:

This book is a mouth, dripping with directions. The way things could have been, maybe, if we had been… what? Faster? Softer? A little less distant? Or a little more? A captivating bundle of impossible plays. The meaning of the stage is redefined; a field, a black hole, a fire. Something to break inside of. A new house for love. The props are bird skeletons and beehives and dirt roads and uncertain stains and infinite hallways. The actors just YOU and ME. Occasionally BOY. Occasionally DOG. Occasionally MOON. But always returning to those familiar faces. And the audience is, as always, a type of wild animal. Fascinating, and hard to predict.

This book is the touch of a very small hand, and it is also the hand that holds that hand, and it is also the hand that holds that hand, and it is also the hand that holds that hand, and on and on for some great amount of time. As YOU and ME calmly discuss the distance between two people, clouds are formed. Nothing is certain beyond what you feel with your hands, beyond what is listed in the stage directions. And even then, maybe. The voice in the fog that you talk to when you can’t get to sleep. That is this book. And it knows you so well already.

This book is a house in which it’s entirely possible someone has died. Which is fine. The possibility, I mean. The house, I mean. This book is a cute little fox that hasn’t eaten anything for days, and wants to lie down. The hair of a person that you no longer see, growing wildly without you. Everything’s on fire and the audience is just kind of sitting there, watching. They’re not even sad, which is fine, but also everyone is sad, which is fine. Kind of like when ME says how “eventually, all of us run or walk into the caves.” That sentence, repeated, echoing hollow in a cave. That is this book.

This book is the time it takes to be ok. And it is also the door that you walk through, again and again, until that time has passed. And even after all of it, still pursued. Ever pursued. This book is the part where you try to be ok with that, too. Which is my favorite part, maybe. Even if it hurts.