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The Sky ChangesReview - The Sky Changes
by Gilbert Sorrentino
Dalkey Archive Press, 1998
Review by Susan Wingate
Jan 6th 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 1)

Amazingly, Sorrentino writes in a way that gives the reader such incredible visuals to conjure while reading. The descriptive words in the way everyday life was/is portrayed can give the reader the sense of walking through the day with the characters in the story. I was quite impressed with not only the clarity in style, but also taking the story line, one of a mixed bag of feelings, experiences, and false hope to a level that left me in a quandary. I didn't know whether I wanted to continue reading the book or skipping ahead to the ending of the story, in anticipation. It is similar to coming up on a car wreck and you know you don't want to look, but you do anyway. Only going away from the scene, grateful, you don't have to take it personally, only to ignore it and go on with your life as if it never existed. Sorrentino's book takes you right into the depths of a lost husband's misery and shines a light so bright, all of the dirt, filth, and griminess can not escape from being seen.

Sorrentino's depiction of one man's reflection of a failed marriage is very "real world" and one can't help but feel the realism of each situation, each new city encountered as the "husband' flees into the misery self made and imagined. The wife is portrayed as a non-entity that is really only along for the ride. She holds an incredible power over this man, yet it is so nebulous, it kept me wondering what her story was.

I will admit it was difficult at times to follow the story with it being written in the second and third person. When I thought about it, this made perfect sense. For the story to be written in present tense, I believe, would have taken away from the tone of the book. The husband in the story seemed to be running away to the future and flipping back and forth into the past. Although the switching back and forth geographically was a bit confusing at first, however, as I continued to read, I realized the necessity to do so to present the whole story.

To be perfectly honest, this is not the kind of book I would read often, if at all. I certainly am glad to have read it, if for no other reason then Sorrentino really impressed me with his descriptive style of writing. When I thought about it, without all the adjectives, I am curious as to how long this book (pages) would be. I would recommend this book to the general public and more importantly, as a selected reading requirement for high school English classes as well as college Freshman Literature classes.

Susan Wingate is currently working in personnel management at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has worked for twelve years as a chemical dependency counselor for adolescents, as well as having worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Her passion is to be a vehicle for creating awareness for self and others.


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