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Aliens and Anorexia by Chris Kraus

in Ark Review/Book reviews by

The second book in the I Love Dick trilogy begins where I Love Dick ends. Chris is in Berlin trying to sell her experimental short film after having it rejected at several film festivals. She is freezing, she is lonely, there is a lot of waiting and a ton of rejection. So, she meditates on her failed career as a movie maker, her failed movie Gravity and Grace, art and gender. Just as in I Love Dick, the book is littered with cultural references and at first it seemed a bit incomprehensible to grasp why they were there and what purpose they served, but Kraus as the good pedagogue and wonderful writer, never completely lets go of the reader. As a sequel to I Love Dick, it comes of as more messy, less structured and almost entirely without a plot and as such it might be a better book than ILD.

Simone Weil
Simone Weil

One of the themes of A&A is how to tell a story and how to tell a story of failure. This is done largely in parables of other (failed) artists: “I realize now, the problem with the movie Gravity and Grace was that it was less a story than a parable.” Same goes for this book since as “a story” it fails miserably, which it also seems keen to demonstrate because only as a work of failure will it be able to demonstrate its point. So when Kraus calls Weil a ‘’performative philosopher’’, it feels more as if she is describing herself and therefor illustrating the paradox of failure, as the success of failure would annihilate the notion of failure.

The lives of Simone Weil and the artist Paul Thek, amongst others, are explored to draw parallels between their failed and misunderstood work as artists and thinkers. Kraus is especially interested in and enthused by Weil, as a thinker whose experience with anorexia has nothing to do with the personal (woman, jew, ‘’unfuckable’’). This is another point the book raises: that of the personal vs the un-personal. As Deleuze writes: “life isn’t personal”. Weil was largely viewed by her contemporaries and posterity as a self-loathing jewish-woman, who suffered from anorexia because she couldn’t get fucked. Against this, Kraus argues that anorexia is a political and un-personal stance in a cynical world. With this, anorexia becomes a resistance against the cynicism of the world which is handed down through food. Anorexia as altruism.

That being said, Kraus’ defense of Weil is often based on the idea of Weil being a good person, a notion that bored me. I wondered if it was a parallel to her own story with the she-devil Delphine Bower who fucked her (Kraus) over in the making of her (Kraus’) movie “Gravity & Grace”. Otherwise, why the story of Bower is in the book if not to tell us that Kraus is a good (and lonely) person I just don’t know.

Full of self pity and depraved of perspective which is both charming, vulnerable, repulsive and easy to criticize, Kraus shows us a person who dares to reveal the ugly and take the punches.

So when Kraus almost writes A&A into a hagiography of Weil, she does the same for the ‘’Chris Kraus’’ of the book but soaked in irony. For example: “The second time I saw the movie Gravity and Grace, I was living in East Hampton with my husband, driving home from a round of empty errands that had come to fill my days. I was no longer poor, but being poor at least had been a kind of structure, and now I wasn’t anyone.” And all I can think is #whitewhine / #prayforchris but this must be intentional as this is how she debunks her own budding sainthood and it is lovely.

Chris Kraus
Chris Kraus

The fictive Kraus is a marvel with a rich and complex character and history, which is revealed through hints about her messed up 20’s, when she was a stripper dabbling in prostitution, reading Weil in French, not eating and walking around Manhattan wearing a military uniform. I’d like to read that book. The more mature Kraus, on the other hand, who has left that behind in order to marry, divorce and live a mundane life according to age is well; A little sanctimonious. When she writes about empathy, feeling and identification, I keep thinking of Alex Buk-Swientys review of Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” where he writes that the claim of ‘’Just Kids’’ is ‘“I can see more clearly than you can”. The same could be said here of Kraus. But then, Kraus is able to show a little fang and all is redeemed: ‘’I thought he was a genius i.e. we hated many of the same people’’.

Full of self pity and depraved of perspective which is both charming, vulnerable, repulsive and easy to criticize, Kraus shows us a person who dares to reveal the ugly and take the punches. Labeling this book #whitewhine is so tempting but the book is more than just that. It shows the implicit paradox of failure, it flips the notion of anorexia as the brat syndrome and, in so doing creates a new canon of art. It also shows how special-snowflake-syndrome can be so unpleasant and while the text is ultra didactic it’s definitely not without merits.

Kraus could paraphrase the phonebook and it would be a great read. Apart from that, it’s a brave move to create character as annoying as this woman, so pedagogical and at times condescending towards the reader and then name her after herself. I think it was Jane Austen who said about her character Emma, that she had created a character only she herself, Austen, could love. “Chris Kraus’’ has clearly been constructed with such a great deal of sympathy and tenderness from IRL Chris Kraus that my warmth towards her becomes superfluous. She is a pineapple floating in her own juice. That said, to end on a more Kanye note: “I don’t care what none of y’all say I still love her”.

Feminism is Important and so might be Bad Feminism

in Essays by

Feminism is important and so might be bad feminism. (I hope I’ll get an insight on what the term “bad feminist” means for Roxane Gay – that is, I can’t wait for the book to arrive.) As so often, situations are paradoxes which adds to their beauty, but also makes them more difficult to describe.

And there I find myself: Surrounded by thin ice. I walk.

Oppositions, such as depicted by Chris Kraus in I love Dick and Siri Hustvedt in The Blazing World, clarify, each in their own way, by pointing towards the still existing problems for women.

I think of these texts as good, important, necessary; I found myself in them for moments, sometimes even for longer periods and still couldn’t but feel as the disadvantaged or even the weaker gender after having read them. This isn’t a problem per se, it depends on what it does to you. It just kept me wondering about the different ways of living with this topic and the need of oppositions.

I know a lot of people, born into the body of women, who gain  a lot of energy and motivation from reading about the differences—as Chris Kraus and Siri Hustvedt in the two books mentioned above, describe them—followed by the urge to fight these differences.

Not me—I don’t feel motivated. Instead, I had to remind myself over and over again while reading “The Blazing World” that Siri Hustvedt actually has what her character fails to have, not to mention Chris Kraus and her success. Hard earned with a lot of hideous experiences I am sure, but received and recognized.

This seems to be an opposition in itself. Pointing towards the possible failure of oppositions. “Fortunate” I would like to say, but am a bit nervous of slipping on the ice.

Reading these two books I became aware that I could keep on a kind of feminist—and at least in my eyes—dark glasses and look at the world/society through those, but noticed that this would not make me more motivated to work against those existing differences or continue my goals/ambitions/interests. Instead, defined “a woman” by society, I feel weakened. As if, being born into the body that I was has labelled me “most likely to fail”. Apart from that, these glasses didn’t really seem to fit me at any point—always slightly too big or too small.

Those books posses certain strength, which they achieve largely by operating with oppositions. As such, they point towards ‘social violence’ as Didier Eribon calls it in his book, Returning to Reims. I find this term quite fitting as a way to describe how it may feel like—regardless of which box society has ready for you—to be confronted with expectations of how one ought to behave in certain situations and codes that one ought to keep. One can give in, or try to go against, though the latter usually means a lot of awareness, failure and energy put into it in everyday life. And there we are back again to the different ways of approaching the ‘differences’.

Am I a bad feminist? Not that kind that Roxane Gay seems to talk about, more like – none at all? Or even worse?

I bend my legs as people do (for whatever reason when being on thin ice, having heard the first crack – it does not really make them lighter though) and continue walking. Carefully.

Maggie Nelson does something in the The Argonauts that I find rather beautiful. She seems to interweave genders and describes the blurriness of roles in a calm and subtle way—pointing towards their periodic absence interrupted by moments where they reappear, often brought up by other persons. This might be to some extent because of the changes Harry, her partner, undergoes, but not only: it’s an interplay between those changes, other more subtle moments and the language Maggie Nelson uses to convey them.

In the beginning of the book the narrator refers to her partner sometimes as ‘she’ and sometimes as ‘he’. As a reader, I wondered what might be the reason for doing so. Whether it was simply the conviction to not reduce people to one gender or something else unknown to me. While reading the book I did understand after some time that Harry was born into a female body and decided to get it transitioned into a male one—to follow the feeling of being more one gender then the other and wanting to be seen as such by society as well. This last aspect is not mentioned as such in the book and might be read into it more by me than it is actually intended. However, the reasoning of this reading is that I think how one is defined by society plays such an essential role that it sometimes seems easier, when leaning towards one gender, to go so far, even if that means insecurity, a difficult process and dangerous operation, not to mention all the bureaucracy and so on. That is the case, when a person leaning towards the other gender does not want to always have to come up with the energy for fighting and correcting the images that get projected upon oneself by society, culture, codes and categories, time and again. Those codes and categories, which society and culture bear, are not bad by definition. Rather, the opposite is the case: they are necessary and important, and so is the awareness of them.

To get back to the reason why the narrator refers to Harry in the beginning sometimes as ‘he’, sometimes as ‘she’, it is because the narrator is going back and forth in time. During the time when they got to know one another, Harry had a female body, while later on and closer to the writer’s present, the narrator would refer to Harry as ‘he’. This is one aspect, which seems to be a more obvious one for the point of interweaving and there are other beautiful and subtler ones, later on.

Now this could be an example of the male in the female and vice versa, as Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark describe it at several times in their e-mail exchange published under the title “I’m very into you”.

However, I believe that the book The Argonauts goes even further, even though the words ‘he’ and ‘she’ are used and there are references to the roles at different points, it seems to make the definitions more flexible, not so bound to the bodies and therefore allows these to be something else.

Some sort of third thing, which I would like to call “Das Neutrum” and feel encouraged to do so by having recently stumbled upon the book of the same name by Roland Barthes.

The ice I’m walking on cracks here –

at least for a lot of feminists, I suppose, and I find myself in a sort of a dangerous situation.

Am I a bad feminist? Not that kind that Roxane Gay seems to talk about, more like – none at all? Or even worse?

I bend my legs as people do (for whatever reason when being on thin ice, having heard the first crack – it does not really make them lighter though) and continue walking. Carefully.

I hear a loud voice coming from somewhere on land, out of sight, towards me: “You harm us.”

And I reply, standing with bended knees, in a raised whispering tone, afraid to break the ice even more: “I didn’t mean to, I just don’t feel comfortable with no oppositions to the opposition.”

This is ridiculous, I think, and suddenly smirk a little upon this absurd situation, seeing myself standing there on the ice. How again did I get here?

The answer has not to be waited upon for too long: “You can have that within feminism.” And I know that it is true somehow, but not totally – at least not for me. I clear my throat and answer: “I think I need something else.”

Without claiming to have understood Barthes definition of “Das Neutrum”, which he circles around in a somewhat fragmentary way—always pointing back to the middle of the circle where “Das Neutrum” stands, waiting to be looked at and defined through other topics/themes/words—I would like to grasp some of the aspects that constitutes “Das Neutrum”. Sometimes supported and sometimes disturbed by the book of Barthes.

“Das Neutrum” is not masculine, nor feminine. It knows about these characteristics and is familiar with them, because it lives and grew up in a society, which operates with those terms. Even more so, they make it possible for “Das Neutrum” to exist. The reason why it is not just the male in a female or vice versa, is because those roles/genders, defined by society, seem to be somewhat equally present, not definable as either female or male characteristics and detached from the body the person got born into. Surely, only a minority of us will be able to live “Das Neutrum” fully, because the opposition female/male seems to be too anchored in the society and because the human body (most of the time) is too much human body in order to negate this opposition, but the definitions used are not fitting anymore and have therefore become something else.

They interweave and dissolve at the same time – till they finally become something third. Not the third out of three possibilities – there are many more I suppose, but the third out of the opposition I was talking about.

The third seems to be stronger than the gender by birth/the body and therefore it seems not to be too important anymore as a characteristic that can be labelled—this does not mean that labelling isn’t happening anymore, or that it is less irritating, nor that the problems of difference caused by the labels are less existent—the bodies are more like a necessity by nature that most members of society are either/or.

The personal pronoun for the term “Das Neutrum” should not lie in the grammatical ‘es’ and ‘das’ in German, which would be ‘it’ in English, all loaded with etymological connotations, but in a possible other word or rather many other words free of these connotations. It would be an alternative to the “Feminine” and “Masculine” and as such open.

The opposition and therefore feminism is still important and necessary and I fear it still will be for a long time in the future. However, paradoxically, it increases the gap, at least momentarily-/periodically and can give people the feeling that they have to decide on which side of the opposition they might want to place themselves, if not to appear ignorant towards or unaware of the problems of differences. That puts me into the dilemma that on top of having to ‘defend’ myself from the eyes of society already, I gain the feeling that I ought to be able to place myself on the side of feminism because it signals an awareness of the problem of difference and the willingness to work on them and that I fail if I can not do so, due to reasons other than a lack of awareness.

“Das Neutrum” allows me to be, despite the oppositions we work with in society, as someone with a female body I feel comfortable with and am grateful for, but feel neither nor, and to work against differences in another way.

I continue walking. It’s silent.

 

***

Photo by: Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg

The Best Reads of 2016

in Ark Review by

Ark volunteers pick and present their favourite reads of 2016.

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

2666Madness. Roberto Bolaño’s last and massive 900-page novel 2666 cannot, of course, be reduced to one word. But then again, why not? Does this one word not entail an implosion, the collapse of language into metonymic sliding, an utter failure of understanding that points towards the very void of meaning that is beyond language? This, in my opinion, is what is at stake in 2666. This is also, I think, what explains the American author Ben Lerner’s elusive and entirely-comprised-of-questions preface to the newest Picador edition. In many ways, 2666 raises far more questions than it deigns to answer.

What Madness? Femicides are at the centre of 2666, happening in or at the outskirts of the fictional city of Santa Teresa (a fictionalised version of the crime-ridden Mexican city Ciudad Juárez), 2666 epicentre. To be precise: 108 femicides are detailed in one of the novel’s five parts. Thus the reader must literally plough through 108 bodies, 108 different murders, in 300 pages. The novel’s other four parts include a group of European scholars and their fascination for an incredibly mysterious German author, a Mexican scholar and his daughter, and a vehement and veritable iconoclast who likes to piss on/near religious icons and then, blind with rage, destroys them. All of these things are somehow drawn towards the madness of the femicides in Santa Teresa. What is the connection? There are neither obvious nor complex answers readily available. Perhaps the law of gravitational pull towards incredible mass can explain things – at least, the metaphor works. But what does it mean?

I know very well that this is vague, but I hope at least it does some small justice to the word alluring. For 2666 is a well written and amazingly well-crafted thing that is well worth the time.

Alexander

Nike by Caspar Eric

caspar-eric-nikeRarely do I read poetry, and when I do, rarely do I laugh and cry, but Caspar Eric’s Nike is a rare and unexpected exception. Nike takes the form of an 88-pages long poem with concise sentences that flow into each other in a kind of (understandable) stream of consciousness that makes the narrative go along in sharp digressions. The point of departure is, stereotypically (as the narrator also comments upon in the poem), a break-up, but this event is unpacked in ways that connects it with the narrator’s feelings about being disabled, the particularities about being disabled in a neoliberal society that values the usefulness of the individual above all else, and about the everyday banalities that unavoidably occur in these constellations. These themes are addressed interchangeably and go effortlessly together in Eric’s straightforward use of the Danish language, which sometimes springs at you with a surprising combination of words that create new images of banal situations.

This book only exists in Danish for now, but I hope one day it will be translated, because it felt like an exact autopsy of the trivialities and terribleness of our time, in which individual thoughts and feelings are inevitably enveloped by a greater, global political whole, but whose envelopment, despite being viscerally felt, are impossible to dissect. Poetry is the only thing that comes close. However – know that I am a terrible literary critic and that, if you read Danish, you should definitely read this one for yourself. You’ll probably get something completely different out of it.

Emilie

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus


9781781256473Reading I Love Dick by Chris Kraus confirmed me in my belief that theory can be a vital tool with which to understand how we live in the world. But more than this is that we can have fun while we are exploring it. These letters from Kraus and her husband, the theorist and Semiotext(e) founder Sylvère Lotringer, to the enigmatic cultural critic, Dick, spiral into obsessive desire, and in doing so reveal something of the illusory nature of so many of the assumptions that structure our culture. That being, that we are rational actors of knowable intention when in fact we are merely good at briefly assembling the appearances of such creatures.

Others have already mentioned elsewhere the important contributions of this novel from a feminist perspective, so here I would like to focus on something else, the mode of expression that Kraus has championed. On a micro-formal level, this book appears unremarkable. The prose, while totally of a piece with contemporary art/cultural theoretical writing and memoir, is relatively plain and straightforward. But the way in which the book blurs the boundaries between fiction and reality, between essay and stream of consciousness, between sensation and its congealment as formal thought, resonates outward. From personal feelings of being out-of-joint and constriction, to the systemic structures of thought and relationships that limit our fields of possibility. And it does this while also being funny.

For all the appearance of transgression (a wife and her husband planning her “conceptual fuck” with another man), the strength of this book lies, for me, in that it seems to be a constructive project. Not in the banal sense of personal growth towards a pre-ordained idea of completion but, rather, in conjoining elements that don’t appear to sit well together at first but over time begin to blur into something far closer to my sensation of living in this world than any work that insists on the primacy of some singular ideal.

Macon

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus


9781781256473When a couple of weeks ago someone at Ark asked me which was the best and the worst book I’ve read this year, I couldn’t help but wonder why I think
I Love Dick is not only one of the best books I’ve read in 2016, but rather one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life. At first, I decided to freestyle with my thoughts, trying to justify my opinion with the first random ideas and emotions I could link to this piece. But after realising that I’m only good at freestyling when it comes to cooking, I made the classic top 5 list of favourite things from the book, which normally helps me in these kinds of situations. Still: too unspecific. I decided to force myself to think a bit deeper. What is it that Chris Kraus does in this piece that fascinated me so much from the first to the last page? Well, everything.

Kraus uses and develops the plot in a unique way. In my opinion, there is a plot which nevertheless is not a central part of the book. What we could generally consider the story (her [non-]relationship with Dick) is used as an excuse to let her writing and ideas flow and blossom: this way she introduces different discussions and topics, from Kierkegaard to the position of women in the art world, and even love itself.

Second, and possibly as a consequence of the above, this book represents a direct translation of the author’s perception of reality. The reader is able to fully immerse in the writer’s world but at the same time, the piece supposes an exercise of thought for the reader to consider such various topics as the ones mentioned before. In that way, Kraus’ excellent use of the first person narration and storytelling of personal experience is the way she constructs a voice both empathic and explorative.

Lastly, the mix of literary genres is almost a piece of handcraft and mastermind. The way she fusions genres seems to be impeccable and admirable. While reading this book, I completely forgot whether I was reading a novel, an essay, or a personal diary. I found myself completely and fully immersed in the story, a source of constant knowledge and creativity which I didn’t care what it was, but I only wanted to read more and more, and the more I read the more amazed I was by it. Yet it’s greatness lies not only in its quality but in its uniqueness. Looking at my bookshelf, or my friends’ bookshelves, or the ones at Ark Books I can’t help but think: I’ve never read a book like I Love Dick before.

Neus

See You in Paradise by J. Robert Lennon

see-you-in-paradiseSee You in Paradise is a wicked and entertaining collection of short stories set in J. Robert Lennon’s surreal and twisted vision of American suburbia. Each story constructs a bizarre, parallel world in which reality is both painfully boring and yet darkly disturbing: the lady down the street is having a funeral for the very not-dead family dog, and the magic portal that a bored husband finds in his family’s new back yard quickly falls into disrepair when chores like gardening and painting the fence come to prioritise portal-maintenance. The stories deadpan sense of humour and dystopian tendencies never dampen their emotional effect. However, Lennon’s characters never cross the line into caricature; their lives may be absurd, pathetic or foolish, but the bored housewives and sexually frustrated husbands are not so much harshly judged as empathetically observed. These stories will linger in your mind long after reading.

Ebba

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

el_jardin_de_las_delicias_de_el_boscoInfinite Jest reminded me why I love literature so much. The book brought back the feeling I experience less and less frequently as I grow older, in fact so rarely that I had almost begun doubting the realness of the ever paler memories of it I have from back in the day. Wallace’s novel brought me back the pure joy of reading. This pleasure of engaging oneself in the lecture which becomes so intense that it turns physical; the one capable of bringing about the distinct tingling at the mere thought that when today ends I can take some time off and spend the entire evening, followed by a half of a night, reading. And tomorrow, do it again. And again. And again. Until I finish, only to realise that I want to go through it one more time. Not that it reads easily: there are (often pages long) moments when progressing through the dense pages feels straight out burdensome and exhausting. But even then, the book does not lessen its grip. It evinces the same tantalising power emanating from Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, the one of inhuman imagination transposed with the pure ingenuity into the compelling, frenetic richness. Its fantastic scope and complexity, progressing through a (paradoxically!) coherent myriad of registers, voices, themes and cadences makes it one of the texts which is so much a whole of itself, it simply is so much what it is, that the only way to do its justice is to read it. And then do it again.

Franek

 

An Exegesis of Emotion: “I LOVE DICK” BY CHRIS KRAUS

in Ark Review/Book reviews by
Chris Kraus

Ok, I picked up this book believing it was the kind of book one brings to the pool in Tenerife; entertaining and forgettable. It has an acid green cover and in pink capitals declares “I LOVE DICK”. All in all it lives up to all my expectations of what a designated beach towel looks like. About the ‘’light read’’ I was wrong but I still think it looks like something someone more tanned than I should wear.

Chris Kraus
Chris Kraus

Welcome inside the mind of a woman in love, or, welcome inside the mind of a woman who is in love. For once a story about a lovesick woman who hasn’t been reduced to only that. Chris Kraus wrote I Love Dick back in 1997 about the woman Chris Kraus who is royally bored in her marriage with the older, french professor Sylvère Lotringer (true story so far, they were married in the ’90’s).

One evening they’re having sushi in Pasadena with an acquaintance of Sylvère, *enter Dick* (Richard Hebdige IRL for the uninitiated reader). Already on page 2 we learn that Chris has never been considered eye candy (and thus never been damned/dazzled by her own looks – pretty cliché although never judgy in its tone), but instead she has been willing to go to extremes for the sake of art (like getting her hand stabbed with a kitchen knife on stage) and the whole book is one long example hereof; it’s a monument to self-inflicted pain for a higher cause. Yum yum.

Shortly after their sushi intake in Pasadena, the book starts running wild in an upbeat flow of love letters to Dick from both Sylvère and Chris, shimmering in various nuances of longing, bitterness, perversity and submission. The letters in the first part of the book alternate between asserting Chris’ love for Dick, meditations over how to best dispose of a body, and meta-reflections about the letters themselves that Chris and Sylvère are considering converting into an art project by taping them all over Dicks house (and cacti) to be videotaped upon his arrival home. Poor Dick.

The mission is not that Dick and Chris should end up together, but that Chris has to break out of the role as facilitator for her husband’s career, conversations and book publications.

By approaching Dick in a more conventional manner Chris might have stood a chance, but it would also have meant a way more boring read. The mission is not that Dick and Chris should end up together, but that Chris has to break out of the role as facilitator for her husband’s career, conversations and book publications. She has fuck herself up a little bit by means of self-inflicted misery. As she says at one point, when she hits a new low due to Dick’s silence (wonder why!), “this is only happening because I willed it’’, and this is one of the many fix points of the book: The magical self-destruction that isn’t compulsive but chosen, and which you have to constantly not say no to. Did Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina ever have a choice? Their infatuations were followed by death.

But the real subject of this story is not Dick, but herself. And Chris slowly starts transforming into herself (slippery slope – smells like moral & insight) throughout the book by letting go of her terminally boring (but also at times very moving and intimate) relationship with Sylvère and instead plunging into a relationship that is bound never to happen, but which gives her back the power to write and describe after having been overshadowed by her husband for the last 10 years.

By the end of the letters, Chris has totally eroded Dick and written him from “Dear Dick’’ to ‘’Dear Diary’’ to ‘’D. D.’’, while she herself has become more three-dimensional. As a reader I almost experienced the physical sensation of going from an existential hibernation to finally being able to fill my lungs with oxygen for the first time in 10 years and through my unrequited love indulge in feelings that have returned after years of anhedonia – I mean, who can’t relate?

Of course the love Chris has for Dick needs to be unreciprocated. It’s function is solely to act as an addressee so all the good stuff can be actualized. Talk about instrumental love.

Of course the love Chris has for Dick needs to be unreciprocated. It’s function is solely to act as an addressee so all the good stuff can be actualized. Talk about instrumental love. After the first part of the book (Scenes from a Marriage) it flips out in chapters about art, schizophrenia, french philosophy and feminism – all disguised as love letters. Meanwhile the book shows an extreme hyper-awareness of itself. The chronology is messy for the careless reader and sometimes it even anticipates itself – all in all it’s a book that is psychotically (pun) well composed and never boring to read (I’m looking at you Knausgaard!).

The strength of I LOVE DICK is the enormous knowledge of art and philosophy that the reader is bombarded with, tightly woven into the confessional tone and sometimes limitless oversharing that Chris Kraus exposes the reader to. Really, it’s a batshit crazy good example of emotional exhibitionism and no wonder Dick tries to exit the story every time he gets a chance to speak (except for that one time where he opportunistically fucks her like a lap-dog just to dispose of her the next morning. And that other time he tolerates her for an afternoon and they hang out and bond by a lake).

If Karl Ove Knausgaard could write like this, I might read his books.

This book is never just a story of love or of art or of philosophy. It’s an explosion of hyper-reflections and contains an impressive understanding about its subjects, which it engages in the later essays of the book. If Karl Ove Knausgaard could write like this, I might read his books.

P.S. This is your last chance to read the book without being tainted by the tv-show that will premiere sometime around now. I only approve of it in the sense that now Chris Kraus is going to be rich, but in any other way: R.I.P. favourite book of 2016.

xoxo / a TV skeptic/ giovanna alesandro.

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