RaveBOMBIn Siglio’s reprint, which joins the images and text in book form for the first time, I find a new book entirely ... Of the more than a thousand snapshots included, my favorites are a pair depicting an open, yellow cardboard carton of white eggs sitting in the sun, a visual synecdoche for the grocery shopping and scrambling and coddling and budgeting that, in Mayer’s work, receive the attention other poets reserve for an ex-lover or a Grecian urn ... Mayer wrote that \'a month gives you enough time to feel free to skip a day, but not so much time that you wind up fucking off completely.\' This hardback edition does not fuck off at all, materially elevating Mayer’s \'emotional science project\' to something final, even if her messy mnemotechnics defy its glossiness.
PositiveFriezeThe book’s attitude towards place is that of a woman scorned ... Low takes...uneasy stock of her own memories, remaining skeptical of the generic expectations of self-discovery. The book’s primary concerns, though, are critical, not memoirist: Low asks whether art has a purpose beyond representation, and if there’s any point in political struggle. Both questions find resolution in an openness to pain ... Low’s orderliness is not that of generic self-help, but of an at-hand drawer of Hello Kitty Band-Aids, set aside for self-inflicted cuts ... The narrative of Socialist Realism operates paratactically, listing memories of grandparents alongside art-critical accounts of Sophie Calle’s exhibits or Svetlana Boym’s writing on nostalgia. Shifts are noted by section breaks (there are no chapter markings) and she writes mostly in the first-person present tense. Time markers offer progressive change, a promise undercut by recursion ... Socialist Realism might itself be a parable, in that it dares the reader to interpret it too literally—mistaking the showing of a wound for vulnerability, or uncertainty about political or artistic effects for a lack of commitment—but I count myself among the believers. It ends in an apocalyptic dream, followed by a homily. In Low’s telling, struggle, futility, hunger and love have something in common: they are not unrealistic.