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The Pet Thief - what's it about?

Imagine you can’t speak. You’re not mute or deaf, you just have no capacity for language, or numbers, or abstract forms at all.

Let’s say it’s a cognitive or developmental issue. So not only can’t you speak, you can’t think.

You have no relationship to Time. There is no past and no future…I would say there’s only the here and now, but the present is equally inconceivable.

Let’s say there’s only immediate need or want.

Living in the moment, then, you have no memory. Without memory and without language, you have no identity. No connection to anyone else.

How would you function without language? Without mind? Without sense of self?

Picture the newborn. The abject terror felt during the cataclysm of birth, with no way to understand what’s happening. For you, the birth fright reappears in the face of anything new or different or the least discomfiting.

In order to survive, you’d need the world to be the same everyday in every way, wouldn’t you? You’d need caretaking. You’d need institutionalization.

Okay. Let’s say you have that safe, same, sane life that allows you to function. But one night you’re stolen away from your caretaker, and now everyday is again as horrific as that first day, your birth day.

What do you do?

Boston Reading (8.99 MB)

I read from The Pet Thief at the AWP Conference 2013

Not that this bears real significance, merely a curiosity, but the outline for this book about a character with no language garnered a more highly wrought and detailed outline than Core, with its exalted, poetic language, its heavy symbolism and its circular plot.