Monday, April 26, 2021

Seven of the best graceless literary exits

KT Sparks is a writer and farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Her work has appeared in Pank, Kenyon Review, Electric Lit, Lit Hub, Southern Review of Fiction, Largehearted Boy, Prime Number Magazine, Word Riot, Citron Review, Jersey Devil Press, WhiskeyPaper, and Jellyfish Review, was anthologized in The Lobsters Run Free: Bath Flash Fiction Volume Two and Tulip Tree Press’s Stories that Need to be Told 2019, and was recognized in the New Millennium Writing Awards and The Moth short story competition. Sparks received her MFA from Queens University in Charlotte, where she served as an assistant fiction editor of Qu (a literary magazine).

Four Dead Horses is Sparks’s first novel. The book was a semifinalist in Southeast Missouri State University Press’s Nilsen Prize for a First Novel, took first place in the James River Writers’ Best Unpublished Novel Contest, was excerpted in Richmond Magazine, and won Regal House Publishing’s 2019 Petrichor Prize.

At Lit Hub Sparks tagged seven of her favorite undignified departures in literature, including:
Evelyn Waugh, A Handful of Dust

Tony Last—the genial exemplar of a social set in which “any sin is acceptable provided it is carried off in good taste”—spends the second half of A Handful of Dust trying hard to leave—his marriage, his faithless friends, his country—with the greatest dignity and refinement. And yet each of his attempts at grace only move him closer to one of the funniest—and saddest—graceless exits in print: declared dead back in Britain, Tony’s last scene is in an Amazonian village, far from his beloved country estate, forced to re-read Little Dorrit to his captor, an illiterate Dickens fanatic.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue