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I Love Dick

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  12,693 ratings  ·  1,218 reviews
Paperback, 277 pages
Published July 14th 2006 by Semiotext(e) (first published 1997)
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W.D. Clarke I think at the same point that Jonathan Franzen changed the title of his breakthrough novel to "The Corrections: The Book That Rejected Oprah's Sticke…moreI think at the same point that Jonathan Franzen changed the title of his breakthrough novel to "The Corrections: The Book That Rejected Oprah's Sticker, That Was Thence Removed From Consideration On Oprah's Show, But Which Nevertheless Went On To Change The Publishing World As We Know It Even If It Never Did Get Made Into The HBO Series It Was Always Meant To Be".

(Full Disclaimer: I actually liked The Corrections, if not as much as The 27th City)(less)

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Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,693 ratings  ·  1,218 reviews

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Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Finally the ordeal of reading a book with this title on public transportation is over.
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
this book is fucking amazing. i read it straight through without doing anything else all weekend. it's rare that a book would inspire such monomania in me. chris kraus is just so savagely smart and dissects the role of women in the art world like a surgeon. she's confessional and angry and theoretical (in the clearest way) and poetic all at once. she says all the things that you want to say but aren't supposed to say: like that academic feminism is full of shit, that artists who don't conform to ...more
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If there is an afterlife (probs no) and you can pick your own heaven from all the moments of your life I'd like mine to be eternally reliving the first time I read this book. ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult, abandoned
I had to stop reading this. It feels like I've been tricked into participating in a cruel piece of performance art. The titular Dick is real life Dick Hebdige. He's a cultural critic who hangs out with Chris Kraus and her husband Sylvere one time. Chris and Sylvere then begin to sexually harass and stalk Dick. They write letters about fucking and killing him. They call Dick on the pretext of discussing their "art protect" (aka their sexual fantasies) and record the phone call without his knowled ...more
Jul 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
this premise and the actual story behind this book just seems mean. I have no idea why a book about a woman who continually forces her sexual/romantic/intellectual fantasies on a strange man who asks her to please stop repeatedly is so radically feminist. the fact that this was a real situation just kind of makes it worse. is it radical because it proves that, like men, women can also violate peoples boundaries for their art with no qualms? I feel like a lot of reviewers try to absolve Kraus/her ...more
Nov 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, abandoned, usa
Hated this.
Adam Dalva
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Often spectacular and VERY complex book - I think the (absolutely essential) afterward hits it on the head: the preoccupation with whether or not this is memoir or fiction, epistolary or invented, (a preoccupation, I'll add, that I was a victim of myself) masks the real achievement here, which is a structural masterclass in time management and a brutal look at love. The 3 characters, Chris, Sylvere, and Dick himself, never behave in "expected" ways and yet always move with authenticity and a str ...more
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous-fiction
. . . Chris and I are sensible people. We don't do anything without a reason. . . . and then you came . . .

What a disappointment! I picked this one up because it appeared on a list of funniest books, though other than the absurdity of the premise, there's not a whole lot of chuckles here. Chris and her husband Sylvère are not exactly embroiled in marital bliss. To put it bluntly, it's been a long time since they've had sex. (I'm guessing it's laziness, not love that's keeping these two togethe
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, recs
Mixing together autofiction and cultural criticism, I Love Dick charts the rise and fall of a one-sided love affair between author-narrator Chris Kraus, a failed experimental filmmaker nearing her 40th birthday, and her husband Sylvère’s colleague, Dick, a suave professor. The epistolary novel unfolds over the course of a series of meandering letters from Chris to Dick, recounting their scant interactions with each other as well as reflecting on art, gender, and class. The first half of the nove ...more
Jun 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
I just try, and try, and try, and try to love this book the way that every respectable person seems to, but the whole time I'm reading it I want so much for her to join a lesbian separatist commune. Like, I'm totally through with hearing about dick, you know? I know this is not a morally defensible position. Maybe one day I'll realize I actually secretly loved it all along, rom-com style, because otherwise I don't know how to explain how mad it makes me. ...more
Jennifer Slack
Jan 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really dislike this book. It is self-absorbed and mean-spirited, a deadly combination. I read it in November 2015 but gave it time before I felt comfortable sharing my response. You see, I have read many reviews that praise the book highly. I have tried to believe them; I don't. I think this is a book you are supposed to like, as if liking it is a kind of litmus test of how sophisticated you are. I am happy to be unsophisticated if that means rejecting the stalking and toying with the life of ...more
Suanne Laqueur
Bailed at 25%. I really didn't get wet for this.
(crumples up paper, tosses over shoulder)

This book failed to rise to the occasion....
(crumples up paper, tosses over shoulder)

I thought it would be harder...
(crumples up paper, tosses over shoulder)

Life's too short to hang with a book that doesn't....perform
(crumples up paper, tosses over shoulder)

I didn't finish. And that's all you need to know about dick.
(I give up)
Oct 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: feminists who hate feminists
I've never read a novel like this before. A blending of the epistolary novel, feminist manifesto, art criticism, tell-all reality-memoir, critical theory, personal essay, and diary. Somehow it all works together, and I would even say that it is a Great Novel.

The first part, which establishes the narrative impetus (Chris, the author, falls in love/crush with an acquaintance (Dick) and, together with her husband, writes love letters to him but doesn't send them).

The conceit can only go so far (a
Lee Klein
Aug 08, 2017 marked it as sampled
Shelves: put-down-for-now
Loved the opening pages, the first 20 or so, the introduction of the conceit, but found it irritating and kinda smug/self-satisfied by page 75, and then boring by page 95 (her drive east) where I skimmed ahead to an unremarkable chapter toward the end called "Dick Writes Back." Didn't find it all that interesting or original or "theoretical" or funny -- the most enjoyable bit is probably the title. I was very aware of the title on the cover as I rode the subway to and from work. But it's ultimat ...more
It's difficult to say what I Love Dick actually is. It's not strictly a novel, but nor is it exactly right to describe it as non-fiction. Rather, it's a sort of semi-fictionalised memoir that takes in critical theory, feminist critique, art history, etc. In her afterword, Joan Hawkins dubs it 'theoretical fiction'. At its heart is the story of the infatuation Chris Kraus the character (not necessarily to be confused with Chris Kraus the author) has with Dick, an acquaintance of her husband Sylvè ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thought I'd love this book. I mostly hated it. I would've DNFed it except that once in awhile there'd be a line that made me want to air punch. So I'm going to put those together and the rest of this reading experience behind me. ...more
Nov 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, 2014, do-not-own
Wow, this is awful.

The last 100 pages are just complete ramble and feel like the journal of a mentally disturbed person, not a writer in control of their craft.

Initially the book, which has a very clever title, is moderately interesting. You move along with the protagonist exploring-with her and her husband-this imaginary connection that she has with this man Dick. The honest correspondence and exchanges that happen between the couple are occasionally insightful, and even a little refreshing at
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
1. This is a difficult book. Chris Kraus, or at least the Chris Kraus in this book, is a difficult person.

2. The early part of the book, with Sylvère and Chris' letters and their caffeinated gamesmanship, is fun. The latter part involves far more rants, digressions, and indulgences. It's often bracing, since Kraus writes energetically about stuff she really cares about, making connections in every direction. If you like critical theory, you might think it fun. I did not find it fun.

3. "I think t
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It took me years to climb over the grad-school critical theory wall which seems to surround this book and actually pick it up and read it: now after reading the book I remain completely ambivalent toward the post-structuralist reception of the book as some kind of harbinger of a "new kind of fiction" and instead argue a simple point which is that Chris Kraus wrote a wonderful, engaging, brilliant novel, much in the same way that hundreds or thousands of other writers write wonderful, engaging, b ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
A friend who is a sociology teacher asked me to read this book and give her feedback. She's thinking about teaching it in a class next semester. I have no idea what class she's teaching or why it has to be this book, but I'm certain of one thing--this book will get people talking. The title alone will accomplish that much.

Full review at
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a lot of things, art, feminism, love, obsession, criticism, sex, self perception. I love all the themes it touches, and I am crazy with how original and brilliant it is. Kraus balances so many things, and makes herself the object of a great story, told in a manner which makes you feel you are in the middle of a performance, and sometimes feeling pretty uncomfortable. And that is actually part of the charm. Dick is one of the protagonists, even if unwilling to be a part of it, ...more
Nate D
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: good subway-reading covers
Recommended to Nate D by: relationships are complicated
Astoundingly page-turning yet philosophically powerful. Anais Nin (read back-to-back with this) fictionalizes her experiences to interesting reflective / psychoanalytic ends, but Kraus does so much more. This seems only barely fictionalized (perhaps! It's dangerous/reductive to place too much weight on that assumption!), but through conceptual rigor and density of thought this is much more the essential "novel" and even that descriptor falls far short of everything going on here. A post-modern e ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Apr 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary-lit
In a just world, this would be the next selection of the Oprah Book Club.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
....I continued reading it.

It doesn't get better.
M. Sarki
Apr 21, 2016 rated it liked it

Art is the consequence of that excess, that energy or force, that puts life at risk for the sake of intensification, for the sake of sensation itself—not simply for pleasure or for sexuality, as psychoanalysis suggests—but for what can be magnified, intensified, for what is more, through which creation, risk, innovation are undertaken for their own sake, for how and what they may intensify.___Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
‘I love Dick’ is an autobiographical novel, but not a confessional’ says Chris Kraus. This is true. A confessional implies the unfurling of sins, or perceived sins. Chris Kraus has no such predilections: sin is not one of her life’s worries. What she has instead, is bucketfuls of humiliation, personal and professional failure, sexual abjection and bunny boiler syndrome which all fuse and implode on the eve of her 40-ieth Birthday. Now, when midlife crisis strikes, one (of the female variety that ...more
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A strange and marvelous multi-genre epistolary from a married woman to a man she meets once and falls utterly, completely in love with. There is something completely fascinating about resurrecting this form but inverting it, so that the woman is the artist, the wielder of language (therefore the maker-of-world), something really compelling about rebirth through humbling the self to unreciprocated desire, something utterly exhilarating about Kraus' interest in directly challenging the (very conve ...more
Simon Robs
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
"What you do is hide your deep need to hide…You stick your hideous face right in there into the wine-tasting crowd’s visual meatgrinder, you smile so wide it hurts and put out your hand and are extra gregarious and outgoing and exert yourself to appear totally unaware of the facial struggles of people who are trying not to wince or stare or give away the fact that they can see that you’re hideously, improbably deformed." David Foster Wallace

What a novel can be.
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is one multi-layered, -genred, -contextured bit of book…

Chris and her husband Sylviere attend a dinner with Dick, a colleague of Sylviere’s and an intellectual in the arts sector. Throughout the evening Chris feels Dick is flirting with her. Flattered, she attempts to distance herself from Sylviere and the married couple end up staying the night at Dick’s house due to unsavoury weather conditions.

The next morning, Dick has left them alone. The couple leave and stop for breakfast where Chris
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Nov 02, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: a-wish-liszt, erotica
I haven't read the book, but I've seen the videos. ...more
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Banging Book Club: I Love Dick 3 213 Jun 16, 2018 10:42AM  
Rookie Readers!: I Love Dick 3 35 Mar 20, 2017 07:46AM  
Around the Year i...: I Love Dick, by Chris Kraus 1 22 Dec 21, 2016 10:13AM  
500 Great Books B...: I Love Dick - Chris Kraus - Jimmy 1 29 Aug 03, 2014 05:41PM  

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Chris Kraus is a writer, filmmaker, and professor of film at European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.[1] Her books include I Love Dick, Aliens & Anorexia, and Torpor. Video Green, Kraus' first non-fiction book examines the explosion of late 1990s art by high-profile graduate programs that catapulted Los Angeles into the center of the international art world. Her films include Gravity & G ...more

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“Because I'm moved in writing to be irrepressible. Writing to you seems like some holy cause, cause there's not enough female irrepressibility written down. I've fused my silence and repression with the entire female gender's silence and repression. I think the sheer fact of women talking, being, paradoxical, inexplicable, flip, self-destructive but above all else public is the most revolutionary thing in the world.” 51 likes
“Why does everybody think that women are debasing themselves when we expose the conditions of our own debasement? Why do women always have to come clean? The magnificence of Genet’s last great work, The Prisoner of Love, lies in his willingness to be wrong: a seedy old white guy jerking off on the rippling muscles of the Arabs and Black Panthers. Isn’t the greatest freedom in the world the freedom to be wrong?” 33 likes
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