Fiction. Winner of the 2012 Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel. “You can break many things, especially the fragile ones, but also feelings and concepts. In her novel Carolyn Chun touches on the subject of breaking the former two—a bottle and a glass fish—but even though she doesn’t say it openly, the book is really about the latter—breaking a person’s heart and the traditional form of the novel. HOW TO BREAK ARTICLE NOUN is a carefully crafted work consisting of seven parts, with seven chapters each, which are intricately interwoven to make up for the absence of a plot. ‘I didn’t want to have a love story until I found life to be an abiding romance with the world. I didn’t want to write a love story until I found life to be an abiding romance with words,’ the author tells the reader in the two-sentence Introduction. It is the love of words—language and the forms it may take on—that shapes this elegantly presented story of the breakup of a relationship. The reader is told that this is what the book is about on the very first line with the words ‘Can you close the door and sit down? Something bad,’ which are repeated throughout the book many times like sequences in a Resnais movie. In addition to influences from film, Chun brings into her novel such diverse elements as pictures, terms and formulas from physics, botanical names, Latin words, poetry, and even an essay; all of this while documenting a touching and psychologically convincing case study of two people growing apart. HOW TO BREAK ARTICLE NOUN was chosen as the winner of the Kenneth Patchen Innovative Fiction Award over a number of worthy candidates for the exceptional craft and originality with which it is written as well as for an insightful and precisely rendered depiction of a crisis in the life of two human beings.”—Yuriy Tarnawsky
About the Author
Carolyn Chun was born on November 30, 1980, in Pennsylvania. She attended Rutgers University from 1998 to 2002, where she majored in mathematics and physics. Carolyn spent the next year tutoring traveling and visiting family. In 2003, she moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to study mathematics. Carolyn received a doctor of philosophy in mathematics and master of fine arts in creative writing from Louisiana State University, both awarded in August, 2009. She is currently a postdoc in the school of mathematics, operations research and statistics at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.