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Passes Through

Rob Stephenson, Lance Olsen

Publication Year: 2010

A fictional meditation on time and experience—part journal, part meditation, part dreamscape
In language that is frank and uncompromising, Rob Stephenson’s debut novel, Passes Through, moves forward in a rare and daring manner. Part journal, part meditation on aesthetics, part dreamscape, Passes Through investigates experience, identity, beauty, and sexuality, while provocatively complicating such distinctions as writing versus revision and imagination versus observation. It is a narrative of and about language, a narrative of and about narrative. 
Can we truly experience the present, the novel asks? No, we cannot, Passes Through suggests again and again. Stephenson throws to the wayside all of the traditional elements of fiction and in doing so composes a sort of musical composition of obsessive consciousness and selfhood’s slippage. This haunting novel never takes the easy route and baffles and confounds on its way toward a stunning yet inevitable finale.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

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Passes Through ::: Passing For ::: Not Knowing

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pp. 5-10

Rob Stephenson’s Passes Through is the opposite of an easy or fun book, at least by current Oprah-ized standards. It is, rather, a limit text—one that takes writing to the edge of readability, then challenges us to invent new ways to speak about its strangeness. That is, it’s a text about textual and epistemological boundaries, ...


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pp. 11-14

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pp. 15-38

No one could stay in the gallery for more than five minutes. The heat and humidity were merciless. I was still collecting pictures. I would look at two of the photographs and go back out into the rain. I went in and out five times. Outside, I stood on the curb. I am always standing on the edge. Never pulled in for long. ...

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pp. 39-56

He did, after all, have a deathbed conversion. Insight into evangelical thinking. Not always humanitarian, but useful. Dangerous visions conjured up strange old fears. Mediocre stuff filled in most of the gaps. Otherwise, the museum would become too overwhelming. He loved forbidden things. ...

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Ja, Mehr: La Mer

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pp. 57-126

I’ve arrived in the middle of something. My hands are numb. I can’t completely relax and enjoy chewing. I want it to be more than it is. And less pain in places I can’t quite locate. It keeps coming apart and I’m getting used to it. That’s a good sign. I’m not even sure when it started. ...

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Etceteras or An Epitome of Ruins

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pp. 127-206

The reader always starts at an end that begins. It’s time to admit I don’t know the whole story. It gets hard to balance the negative slant. Something had to go. The toxins. The gently sloping derangements of the years. These little scraps are supposed to preserve something. My intentions? ...

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pp. 207-208

The following is an attempt to chronologically list many who, on the long zigzagging pathway towards this book, have contributed to its unfolding—through conversation, through kindness and encouragement, or by living life in some way that has inspired me (in some cases all three): ...

Back Cover

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pp. 209-209

E-ISBN-13: 9781573668170
E-ISBN-10: 1573668176
Print-ISBN-13: 9781573661553
Print-ISBN-10: 1573661554

Page Count: 207
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1st ed.

OCLC Number: 680620798
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Passes Through

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