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The Vicious Red Relic, Love: A Fabulist Memoir

4.75 of 5 stars 4.75  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Anna Joy Springer was lead singer and songwriter for the influential punk band Blatz that came out of The 924 Gilman Street Project and Lookout! Records, alongside bands like The Yeastie Girlz and Green Day. She later sang with The Gr'ups and Cypher in the Snow, and toured with Sister Spit, a raucous all-woman group of writers headed by Michelle Tea.

The Vicious Red Relic,
Paperback, Black and White Edition, 204 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Jaded Ibis Press (first published April 15th 2011)
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Laurie Weeks
I've been planning this massively insightful review of The Vicious Red Relic, Love for GoodReads and every other site but I'm going to have to take it a step at a time because Red Relic gave me Standhal Syndrome AND Stendhal Syndrome. I didn't know about Standhal until just now, it's like Stendhal, except instead of being made faint by beauty you have a small aneurysm from it. A wee geyser, technically known to us in the medical profession as A Relic-of-Beauty Brain-Mist. It's actually quite ref ...more


I HAVE FINISHED READING THIS! had to take a break because it was too emotionally intense to absorb while stressing about other stuff the past months.

there's so much to this book, it is difficult to draw lines around. it is a grief narrative, it is a retelling of the epic of gilgamesh, it is a memoir, it is a revision, a love story, a collage, a meditation on meaning and uncertainty. an excerpt:

“Sex had started feeling like being lonely in a crowd of drunks, then pisse
In Anna Joy Springer's The Vicious Red Relic, Love, narrator Nina writes back to the past, with a time machine, Winky (or Blinky), fashioned out of tin foil, instructed in the ways of the world she once inhabited with Gil, her badass and troubled lover, whose death remains an open wound, emotional and psychic. Like the myths of the virile goddess Inanna and dazzling egoist Gilgamesh, whose tales wrap themselves around Nina's as only problematic literary ancestry can.

The Vicious Red Relic, Love
Jessie Lynn McMains
A review which is really more like me writing a gushing love letter about this book. Because a review would be all objective and critical, and this isn’t. This is just me telling the world that this book is everything. It made me cry, and if something can get me to tears I know I love it. This book, this book. It’s a myth, a fable, a diary, a scrapbook, a love letter, a memoir, maybe. It talks a lot about the nature of truth vs. lies and fact vs. fiction, which is something I think about so ofte ...more
LB Johnson
You really have to do at least three readings of this book. The first pass is to have your head whipped by Springer's magic words, with each sitting. The next is to explore the play of image, history, memory, and those moments where fiction doesn't care about the facts, and vice-versa.

You can do a third, fourth and fifth reading, just by following the typeface, or Springer's illustrations. Each experience is different, varied, even as the reader already knows from the outset how and where the s
this is quite possibly my favorite book of all time; read my review here:

and then read this book, over and over and over again.
this book deserves way more stars--it's that startling and sophisticated and powerful. not only did i love all the eyes of the hybrid form, i loved how well it served this difficult story: of a femme woman grieving her butch lover and traveling back in time, via proxies, to get at what happened and how and why. epic, poetry, drawings, short shorts; the text uses them all like counterpoints, like reading instructions, like cracks into the core of the characters. not only this but who's writing ab ...more
But enough about me and more about the book. Read it. It's probably the greatest thing I've read all year. If I ever get the chance to teach Gilgamesh again, I'm teaching parts of this book alongside it. There's just so much to say about this book, I can't do it all. The feminist re-telling of Gilgamesh, the story of Ishtar/Inanna. (Once, at work, a co-worker said to me "You're a goddess." I had done some small thing for her. I said, without even thinking, "I will be Ishtar.") What makes it femi ...more
Why can't I put six stars?

This is the most profound, beautiful, unpretentious and courageous book I think I have ever read. The way Anna Joy Springer melds the worlds of mythology, imagination, fiction, and memoir together is unlike anything else I've ever read. This book can be uncomfortably honest, hilarious, or deeply reflective (sometimes all at once). If you enjoy uncanny writing that is not created in a prescribed genre of "experimental writing" this is for you.

Really there is no way to r
The most courageous, intelligent, and inspiring book I've ever read. It hits home for me in so many ways: MPD aka DID, punk, feminism, nature, mythology, magic, and imagination. The way the narrative structure creates comes together is brilliant--I won't say anymore, you just have to find out for yourself.

For my friends who may be "triggered" easily, this is truly an inspiring read, but do proceed with caution--the honesty and subjects covered in this book are intense and may be difficult.
Daniel Levesque
I wish Anna Joy Springer could write and edit my dream states.
Mika Kennedy
Everything written in this book is true.
Anna Springer
Aug 19, 2014 Anna Springer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Interviews and Reviews:

If you don’t like to “over-think” things, skip this book. But if you think life is complicated, difficult, and weird—and you love women who fit that description, too—this book is for you. -Aaron Cometbus

From Brooke Wonders at American Book Review:

From Tt Jax at lambda literary foundation.

from j/j hastain at The Lit Pub:

from Steve Hart and Razorcake:

Debra Di Blasi
"Best LGBT Book of 2012" -Laurie Weeks

"A page turner...electric" -Alice Notley, author of The Descent of Alette and Culture of One

"Anna Joy Springer fabulates a trauma memoir of losing her bipolar lover to AIDS and, in so doing, creates a unique literary form, one that ignores the often fraught line between truth and fiction in pursuit of something more elusive" -American Book Review

"A powerful book of love, trauma, loss, and forgiveness." -Lambda Literary

"There is only one Anna Joy Springer. On
Jami Sailor
Feb 20, 2012 Jami Sailor marked it as to-read
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Anna Joy Springer was a punk singer in the early 90's Bay Area punk and homocore scenes (Blatz, The Gr'ups, and Cypher in the Snow.) She toured with Sister Spit in 1999 and 2000. She now teaches writing at UC San Diego where she also directs the MFA program in Writing.
More about Anna Joy Springer...
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