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When the Sick Rule the World
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When the Sick Rule the World

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  183 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A moving meld of essay, memoir, and story, When the Sick Rule the World collects Dodie Bellamy's new and recent lyric prose. Taking on topics as eclectic as vomit, Kathy Acker's wardrobe, and Occupy Oakland, Bellamy here examines illness, health, and the body -- both the social body and the individual body -- in essays that glitter with wit even at their darkest moments.

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Paperback, 248 pages
Published August 21st 2015 by Semiotext(e)
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Remnant.Revenant
Dec 12, 2015 rated it liked it
woulda given this a 5 if not for two things

- i've decided to start detracting points from books for having personal anecdotes about Kathy Acker. i mean, i like Kathy Acker, but is it like a prereq for getting published by semiotexte that you have to spend at least ten pages of your book doing a hagiography of her? this demeans all of us

-secondly, the last essay is a brutal, 60 page slog of selective white privilege denial re: the shocktrooper role of white bohemians in gentrification. like she b
...more
Jimmy
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the best of these essays, I never know where she's going to go next. And her style is such that she CAN go anywhere from anywhere. There's no slow build-up, no conventional progression, just sentences one after another driven by sound and sense and an unquenchable curious intellect. I love her voice. She's funny and she's not afraid to make Snow White and the seven dwarves into an all out no-holes-barred furry fuckfest.

"Whistle While you Dixie" - 5/5 I was hooked to her voice immediately, I m
...more
Madeleine
4.5
oh HECK thank goodness for semiotexte this is one of the best books i read this year!! i knew i liked bellamy since i heard her complain about jonathan franzen <3
this is a handbook in many ways on how to tell what you are doing, as you do it (that whole form and content thing). beautiful anecdotes--provides a guide on how to notice things, how to value moments we want to ignore (leaving a poetry reading to vomit...) how to not take language for granted. as a whole the text boldly asserts
...more
Alvin
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This heady conglomeration of belletristic personal essays is insightful and unpredictable. Bellamy weaves words into sculpture, bleeds ruby red onto the page, and leads readers down hidden paths in the beautiful garden of her mind.
M.
New favorite. Essays on ET, barfy writing, gentrification in SF, illness communities--each one a surge, a mad rush of images and ideas.
flannery
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure I like this genre of memoir, idk what it's called: Goth crit? Kathy Acker fan club? Theory for freaks?? But I did find a lot in here I liked, like how the Greeks thought women were just two holes connected by one big dirty tube. What really blew my mind was the behind-the-scenes info on the movie "E.T.", most of which I guess is available on the collectors' edition DVD, but wow. I guess E.T. was played by a legless 9 year old boy, voiced by a chain smoker in her 60s with her denture ...more
Michael Dipietro
Apr 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was very uneven - I appreciated its wide experimentalism but some of the pieces just struck me as bad writing.. In several the content gets bogged down by Bellamy's structural conceits sabotaging what might otherwise be good ideas. "Rascal Guru" is a good example of this with its relentless repetition. The title essay and the "Shadow of Twitter Towers" piece are astonishingly un-self-aware in Bellamy's overly simple and damning judgements of whole big groups of people. Other essays are ...more
Brook
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Definitely preferred some stories/essays to others - standouts were the Barf Manifesto, Phone Home, and In the Shadow of Twitter Towers. Truly epic works. This is my first time reading Dodie Bellamy, but now I'll be seeking out the rest of her writing. She's phenomenal.
L.M. Payne
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism, health
This is an amazing, shocking, moving and brilliant book. I've found myself returning to some of the essays multiple times. I'm slightly obsessed with the essay 'Phone Home' in which Bellamy shares the death of her mother through the frame of watching the film E.T.

Bellamy's sparing use of punctuation and paragraphs can sometimes make the text look dense and impenetrable on the page, but when you get into it, her use of em dashes and commas replicate the experience of racing thoughts and create a
...more
Lilli
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
3.5

A glimpse into Bellamy's vast interconnected web of knowledge. Her knowledge/thoughts are definitely more advanced and attractive than her writing. This is intended as more of a compliment to her mind than a critique of her art. In saying this, Bellamy is wonderfully vulnerable and this collection stands as a good ideological introduction into the world of contemporary "creative nonfiction" as a form. I'm also very interested in reading more reflections on the evolution of 90s and 2000s art
...more
Jaredjosephjaredjoseph harveyharvey
On his website my Vietnam vet boyfriend writes, "Please don't ask me what war is like. I can't tell you. If I could truly relate the experience I would be the greatest artist of all time. I know of no one who has done it. If they had, there would be no war." Because of its linguistic complexity, the average reader would find the Declaration of Independence more difficult to read than a novel
Emily
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gets better every time I read it (3x now). Dodie has an uncanny ability to zoom in on a detail within a scene to bring texture and depth to her larger narrative. Her voice and phrasing are impeccable.
Amy
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
Collection of essays, autofiction, whatever ranging from the changing landscape/population of San Francisco, Kathy Acker, and her mother's death (particularly as it relates to the movie ET.
Patrick Bella Gone
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In Bellamy's book, piss and vomit sticks to everything. Kathy Acker's ring carries a stench, a witchy aura, long after her death. When Bellamy's mother dies, clips from the film E.T. haunt Bellamy as she tries to clean the mess. These essays portray an all-encompassing world, a world full of detritus, of stains that refuse to scrub off. The attempt to clean becomes comic, as in Bellamy's interpretation of the 'Whistle While You Work' section of Snow White, in which the mice and deer clean the di ...more
David
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is it, the writing we need. Fresh, urgent, personal, radical. Creative and disrespectful (perhaps even contemptuous?) of boundaries and genre. Eyes wide open, refusing to refuse to see that which we are trained and expected to refuse to see.

The whole collection is great, but if one must list the especially favorite essays, one might start with: Whistle While you Dixie, Rascal Guru, Phone Home, July 4, 2011, and In the Shadow of Twitter Towers. (So many other good ones, though...)

Really spec
...more
Steven Felicelli
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastically rousing book. Associative elegies about her mother, E.T., and Kathy Acker are among the most moving I've read and her ideas (derived from Kristeva's notion of intimate revolt) open a viable avenue for important (politically conscious, sans program) literature.

Her essay In the Shadow of Twitter Tower is simultaneously demoralizing and inspirational. Left me aching to join/start the revolution and pretty sure the revolution was not forthcoming.

This book will make you think
...more
Vincent
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it
i like being engaged by nonfiction, i like writing that is not straight up imagined or reality. sometimes the form was distracting, but overall the bits i liked outweighed bits i didn't.
i found there were some moments of objectification or victimisation of sex working women, which annoyed me. sometimes it feels like the semiotexte writers use "the figure of the prostitute" to try and say something about our corrupt unjust world, but for me it just comes across anti-sex work and pretty irritati
...more
Jolene
At first I really didn't "get" this book, but after talking through "Whistle While You Dixie" and beginning to notice ties between the various essays, I've grown to really appreciate the collection. It's weird and dense and beautiful. "Phone Home" is my favorite. Bellamy writes about ET and how she processed her grief after her mother's death. I also really liked "The Bandage Lady," "July 4, 2011," and "The Beating of Our Hearts." There are certainly others that I still don't "get" though. This ...more
Cherie
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book of Dodie's; collected essays, creative nonfiction. I loved the gentrification section (the Twitter towers, hahaha), a great Kathy Acker essay….this is one of the best things I've read recently.
Annie
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'd already read a few but always worth a reread, especially Kathy Acker's clothes. The final essay is a real stunner.
dimwig
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
i've got my favourites—mostly the ones at the beginning—but there's brilliant stuff throughout, gems of sentences and controlled chaos of voices and moods all thrown up against each other.
Beatrice
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Can't get it off my mind.
Heather
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Wilder Davies
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Dodie Bellamy is an American novelist, nonfiction author, journalist and editor. Her work is frequently associated with that of Dennis Cooper, Kathy Acker, and Eileen Myles. She is one of the originators in the New Narrative literary movement, which attempts to use the tools of experimental fiction and critical theory and apply them to narrative storytelling.

She ist married to Kevin Killian.
More about Dodie Bellamy

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“Slaves to our media delivery devices, we are ever available to this vague, demanding elsewhere, and our ability to experience the "now" is dissolving.” 0 likes
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