Lost what? Creddlebones, of course. They’re those things in Stanford Pritchard’s new novel, Three Sexes in Search of the Creddlebones. I’m on a Stanford Pritchard tear after reading and really liking his novel Benny’s Mission. Now this one. It’s a ride through his mind. I found it really funny, in a droll way. Once I was reminded of “My Uncle Solomon” (see “Cuts From Cologne,” a tab on this website under Cologne No. 10 For Men). Pritchard lampoons the historical research establishment–in libraries behind the ivy-covered walls, and on archaeological digs of the past, and as he tells surreal stories about the search for the creddlebones. And what are creddlebones? Yes, of course you have to read the book to find out.
Pritchard tells stories about fictitious generals of the past; the demise of ancient walled cities, which people have replaced with walls around themselves; individuals playing roles in a “theater with no director,” acting and dressing like everyone else playing their role; Calligraphes, the little-known Roman philosopher, and his scheme to rename the stars, and rearrange and rename the constellations; a trip to a town that no one inhabits; a “ghost lecturer” telling a “curt historian” about Renaissance television, which was snuffed out because it was hypnotizing people and becoming a religion and an agent of repression; a graduate student facing a one-month deadline for finishing her doctoral thesis–her definitive work on the creddlebones–who screams obscenities, does cartwheels in the reading room, and leaves her library prison of seven years, goes out into the world for a year, dialogues with doors and talks to walls and garbagecans, and decides that the creddlebones are irrevocably lost; Thomas Peters, who lapses into silence and is praised by critics for his book with no print, blank art canvases, and empty sculpture exhibition spaces; and finally, Rob and Marianne, who discover why “three” sexes have driven them apart and what, exactly, the creddlebones are. This eccentric novel made me laugh uncontrollably and cast me on my own lifelong search for the creddlebones. I loved it.
Also see The Elements of Style Updated and Annotated For Present-Day Use by William Strunk, Jr. and Stanford Pritchard.