RaveBookforum...a treasure of a book ... What is so: this dreamy volume gathering the eleven hundred photographs and two hundred pages of rolling prose that Mayer produced in those thirty-one days. It is as much a conceptual exercise as a diaristic one, a Hydra dancing at the intersections of language and image, calling forth what time and a voracious mind can create there ... Mayer’s sentences simulate life’s whoosh—its uneven rhythms, the crashing half thoughts ... Her seductively offhand snapshots make modest monuments of daily nonevents: a slack clothesline strung from a window; a tidy white curtain blown by a breeze; a ceiling light glowing at night; a friend, her hair pulled back, sitting in the front seat of a convertible; a lover, nude, reclining in the bath. To a reader leafing through Memory now, Mayer’s feral run-ons may elicit a wistfulness for an era that appears so much freer than our own, and her photos’ rich cinematic hues might prompt a person to wonder how our age, so manically documented, seems far less vivid in comparison. And while prescience is always a dicey claim, Mayer’s self-portraits, often taken while staring into the lens, somehow appear like eerie proof that she was seeing us long before we would see her.
RaveBookforumLike her previous books, [Robertson\'s] latest is a work of buoyant loveliness and muscular erudition, a lush thicket of thoughts that here enrich the ease and breeziness of personal narrative with the chewier textures of history, criticism, and literary theory ... Robertson’s writing folds, continuously, crossing timelines so now and then stand face to face. Between them is a fertile playing space in which Robertson thinks roundly on subjects such as authorship and inheritance and the imposition of the oddball, unshakable conditions called feminine, called poet, called I ... part of the delight of this book is wrestling with how exactly to apprehend and define this Escher-like interiority that Robertson and Hazel Brown cohabit—kind of—with [Baudelaire] ... Robertson/Brown is not flatly enamored of Baudelaire (readers may get weary and need to drop a ball once in a while when juggling a three-in-one writer-mind) ... Robertson, with feminist wit, a dash of kink, and a generous brain, has written an urtext that tenders there can be, in fact, or in fiction, no such thing. Hers is a boon for readers and writers, now and in the future.
Ingeborg Bachmann, Trans. by Philip Boehm
RaveBookforumMalina is a work of harrowing, head-spinning magniﬁcence, and Philip Boehm’s new English translation—a revision of his ﬁrst, which was published in 1990—brilliantly imparts the elegance of Bachmann’s mind, feral and full and excruciatingly alert ... Bachmann’s is a deft miscreation, relaying the deranging realities of being a woman by way of sentences that rush forth like life force from an open jugular ... Malina will perhaps be most perplexing to readers who believe that the most one can make of literature is perfect sense ... Bachmann is at the height of her powers in the book’s second chapter ... her prose glows white hot to illuminate the unthinkable—the deportations, the gas chambers, the murdered, the complicit—all the while refusing to reinscribe, or reify, fascism on the level of form ... The condition of paradox can be fiction’s prerogative and playground and—at a time when language is pulped from all sides in the pursuit of power—one of its most potent charges. As Bachmann’s books remind us: To cower in the delusion of certainty rather than reach for the greater and freer would damn us to fates we wrote long ago, ones we could have rewritten.
PanBookforum\"Ah, romance! Who wouldn’t like a sweet, sweeping love story right about now? But unfortunately, Kathy isn’t a terribly riveting heroine, proving herself insufferable nearly right out of the starting gate ... Next to Acker’s long shadow and the literature she has inspired, Crudo gives off little light. The fact that Laing wrote it in seven weeks has been touted almost as an act of experimentalism; the book’s dust jacket crows that its story \'unfolds in real time\'... It doesn’t take a deep dive into that line to understand what’s meant: Crudo is diaristic, written, edited, and published quickly, and therefore its shortcomings, if not perceived as virtues, should be overlooked, excused ... Although Crudo, which just so happens to mean raw, was intended as such, it feels, in the end, merely half-baked.\