Four Years Pass


Here’s a three-word sentence from Philip Roth’s American Pastoral that has always stuck with me:

Five years pass.

He opens several sections with it. This comes after we find out that Swede Levov’s teenage daughter has just murdered a bystander while setting off a bomb at their hometown post office. The line doesn’t jump things forward, though. It stops you when you first read it — wtf? I thought we just found out she murdered someone — and then what follows in each section is a pretty brutal description of some of the almost unbearable things that happen to the main character during those five years that we aren’t really going to be allowed to jump past. Many pages later, he writes: “And this is just a part of what is meant by ‘Five years pass.’ A very tiny part.”

It stuck with me because of how it calls attention to time passing and resists it at the same time, dwells in it. There are no fucking shortcuts.

But all I mean here is that it’s been four years since I blogged about anything. Which is… less? (Less profound, less provocative, less everything.) True, though.

But some things did happen during those four years:

  • I wrapped up an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • My book Fierce Pretty Things was published by IU Press, in the spring of 2019
  • The President of the United States tried to destroy the fabric of the country and came pretty close
  • We got rid of that motherfucker
  • Worldwide plague
  • I updated this website

Kind of a mixed bag, I know. Anyway, I may post a little more frequently now.

About the author

Tom Howard

Tom Howard is the author of Fierce Pretty Things (Indiana University Press, 2019).

He received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Fierce Pretty Things won the 2018 Blue Light Books Fiction Prize, and his individual stories have won the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Fiction, the Indiana Review Fiction Prize, the Robert and Adele Schiff Award for Fiction, the Carve Magazine Prose & Poetry Contest, the Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction, the Innovative Short Fiction Prize, the Willow Springs Ficiton Prize, the Rash Award in Fiction, and the Robert J. DeMott Award for Short Prose.

He lives with his wife in Arlington, Virginia.

Add Comment

Leave a Reply

By Tom Howard


Get in touch

Feel free to follow me to get a follow back, and to say hello.

Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: