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4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  63 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
A new edition of a classic of contemporary American literature, first published in 1997 by Sun & Moon Press but unavailable in recent years.

Dra—, the nondescript heroine of this grim, hilarious fiction, might have fallen through the same hole as Lewis Carroll's Alice, only now, 130 years later, there's no time for frivolity, just the pressing need to get a job. In a se
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Verse Chorus Press (first published 1997)
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Nate D
Mar 26, 2014 Nate D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: job seekers, employees
Recommended to Nate D by: Nathanimal
Eternally job-searching in a dystopian indoor world of drab office corridors void of value, meaning, or hope. This has kind of mind-numbing quality, but in an intentional and effective way, as events gradually pile up without any chance of success or progress. How can sense or progress exist when the the purposes that can exist are external, pointless, and probably agonizing? Our protagonist Dra- (Nathanimal described her perfectly as "so unformed that that she doesn't even have a full name) is ...more
oh what can one say about stacey levine? Lucy Ellmann has emulated it, Lorrie Moore would be jealous of it, Bernard Share has guffawed over it, Rikki Ducornet has already done it with water and desire, but stacey levine has written a story of longing, love, work, and administrators (and feces) that puts one in Alice's Wonderland without any possibilty whatsoever of cakes. Here's a short excerpt from near the climax when Dra--- is thinking back to her time in school:
"No one in school had spoken
Jan 09, 2011 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The secretary shifted. "Sometimes we need someone older, don't we?" And Dra- heard the woman's eyes click open and shut and felt the cool draft of her breath as they sat together uncomfortably on the office chair, rocking slightly.
"I've wondered how people fit together, and speak, and stay together," Dra- murmured.
"Oh? I know just what you mean!" said the secretary.
"You do? How does it work, then -- how do people stay with one another so easily and talk for such a long time, as if it were no
Aug 27, 2007 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
you won't like it... but i did!
Jul 05, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of Anna Kavan, Jean Rhys, and Aimee Bender
When I try conveying my love for this book, all that comes out is monotonous, throaty sounds that don't make words of any kind. When I feel this way about certain books (there are very few of them and they are all by women), it tends to be non-communicable. Most other people will read the same book and won't feel it deserves so much adoration. I think it's because people have 'favorite things' that are favorites for completely personal reasons and that's why it never made sense to me when asked ...more
Nov 21, 2009 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, reviewed
This is a difficult book to rate, since it's tone is one part depressing and one part absurd comedy. And all of the characters seem to have unnatural (natural?) obsessions with their feces (yes, you read that right) which every time they're mentioned, give you a jolt. a very weird book about Dra-'s obsession with acquiring employment, apparently the zenith of achievement . . . the book is a wry observation of capitalist culture and the anxiety and resignation of all the human cogs in the wheel w ...more
Jul 27, 2008 Bryson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorites, if not still my favorite book. Levine writes incredibly funny and unpredictable prose, whose giddy moments turn quickly from dark to light. Her descriptions are always amazing and the interactions among ambient characters both bizzarly mundane and gravely existential. The prose escalates in ways that one cannot imagine, then veers in yet another startling direction, only to fizzle into a pit like one's emotions at the end of long tedious work day. I'm not a good reviewer, bu ...more
May 22, 2014 Leigh marked it as thee-forsaken  ·  review of another edition
From the jacket description I though this would be interesting, a witty laugh for those who don't buy into the muck & grind. No. This is for people who *really really* care. It occurs to me just now that satire done poorly is merely whiny passive-aggression.

Albert Cossery did the whole anti-work thing much better. Of course, his stories were not just satire, his characters not just scarecrows stuffed with ideology, and he had an entire "theory of idleness," not just a bone to pick.

Robert Corbett
Sep 05, 2016 Robert Corbett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dra-- is a little deceptive, with an incomplete heroine who wishes nothing more than to get a job (maybe indicates the story began in the 90s), and with a plot that is a succession of failed or mixed up encounters, would seem to be essentially on the academic end of passion. But learn to here the rhythm and really read the words, and fury and desire come seething through. "'Do you think it is better to keep relationships cool and contained, or let all hell break loose?'" says Frieda, the assista ...more
I don't think I have ever had such a hard slog through a mere 150 pages. I kept picking it up and putting it down. Four years later I have finally finished this weird, surreal little book. It has its moments but ultimately it felt too much like a meandering journey through someones bizarro dreams, and y'all know how I feel about other people's dreams.
Apr 09, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: postmodern absurdists
This really didn't work for me. It's a bit hard to describe...I'd say it reminds me of a cross between Pinter and Kafka and a hyperactive child who's playing dumb.
Kaushik Viswanath
Jul 12, 2014 Kaushik Viswanath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of those books I didn't particularly enjoy while I was reading it, but refused to get out of my head when I was done. Stacey Levine has Kafka's sense of humour: terrifying, absurd, nightmarish.
Jim rated it liked it
Jun 10, 2012
Kimberli rated it really liked it
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Stefani rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2014
Stephen Beachy
Stephen Beachy rated it it was amazing
Sep 04, 2010
Janelle rated it it was amazing
Jul 15, 2016
Kyle Muntz
Kyle Muntz rated it it was ok
Jan 25, 2016
Mark Gunther
Mark Gunther rated it it was amazing
Feb 29, 2016
Muriel rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2017
Matthew rated it really liked it
May 27, 2011
Adam rated it really liked it
May 01, 2012
Steve rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2008
Brian Sendelbach
Alice in Wonderland in Franz Kafka. I've read it three times.
Theory rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2014
Cory rated it it was amazing
Dec 19, 2008
Brooke rated it it was ok
Apr 15, 2014
Wendy rated it liked it
Feb 28, 2009
Gotard rated it it was amazing
Oct 29, 2007
Muumuu House
Muumuu House rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2012
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Stacey Levine is the author of My Horse and Other Stories (PEN/West Award, 1994) and the novels Dra--- and Frances Johnson (Finalist, 2005 Washington State Book Award). A Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of the 2009 Stranger Genius Award in Literature, her fiction has appeared in the Denver Quarterly, Fence, Tin House, The Fairy Tale Review, Yeti, and other venues. Levine has contributed to Am ...more
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