The Sublime tells the story of Jack, a stranded guy who spends a couple of weeks on a island off the coast of Florida with Gina, Old Man, Asher, and plenty of cereal boxes.
The story is a one-sitting-read, both funny and thriller-like. It is about home, or the lack thereof. It is about the strange strength and fragility of humanity at all ages: adolescent, adult, old, about man and woman and how little they really differ.
Although the characters have been ripped from their homes, it feels as if they are on the island on purpose, as if their attempts to find the way back are mere youthful experiments and what-ifs. There is a fear of home at the same time as there is a desire for it. For this reason, I read the constant dangers and insecurities as somehow safe, perhaps uncannily (unhomely-Unheimlisch) safe. If I’m reading this right, to me the strangers are almost immediately not really strange(rs), death is potentially impotent and teaches the characters nothing, not even the possibility that life is meaningless. Ultimately it is as if nothing is really at stake.
This is why the publisher’s standard phrase on the very last page: THE SUBLIME IS A WORK OF FICTION, strikes me in a different way. I’ve been asking myself why is the novella called The Sublime, and reading this ALL-CAPS phrase it seems you can read the first words not as the book title but as a strange, unintentional coda: the sublime (as a philosophical idea, a Romantic theme /see Wordsworth/), is nothing but fiction. The sublime supposedly appears in extreme situations of open-ness of the world, the breaking of civilization in the face of the awe-inspiring, awe-ful something/nothing. I get this sense only when I read the story as oozing soft and youthful irony toward the possibility of the sublime. The sublime arises from its absence, perhaps, from the failure to arise at all.
The Sublime was published by Cantarabooks, an independent E-book publisher. E-books seem to offer a whole new, cheeper ways of enjoying contemporary talents such as Moskowitz. Instant download, read on your computer screen or special E-book readers.