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The Bruise

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Winner of Ronald Sukenick Prize for Innovative Fiction

The Bruise is a prize-winning novel of imperative voice and raw sensation. In the sterile dormitories and on the quiet winter greens of an American university, a young woman named M— deals with the repercussions of a strange encounter with an angel, one that has left a large bruise on her forehead. Was the event real or
Paperback, 174 pages
Published August 10th 2008 by Fiction Collective 2
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  95 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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MJ Nicholls
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: distaff, fc2, merkins, novels
A prize-winner from FC2. Narrated in a somewhat autistic or obsessive voice (take no offence please) with lyrical repetitions and emotive, instinctual language. No surprise whatsoever to learn Stein, Bernhard, and Proust are the writer’s influences. The prose is more or less the novel since the plot, setting and first-world problems are flat and whatever, and the innovative aspect of it all somewhat escapes me. But the voice is damn striking and fresh.
Dec 24, 2011 rated it liked it
I went to a CAConrad reading because I had heard many good things about him but had never read much except a poem here and there online, and it was at this reading that another reader also impressed me and her name was Magdalena Zurawski. She brought her dog with her, a little white thing who she placed on a chair while she read, and afterwards I bought her book and she signed it. When I came home and added her book on Goodreads, I realized that it was already on my to-read shelf, along with sev ...more
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
review of
Magdalena Zurawski's The Bruise
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 17, 2013

Yadda, yadda. This review is too long, yadda, yadda. See the whole thing here:

I was in Boston, at the beginning of January, 2013, w/ my girlfriend of the time, for what was probably the 128th annual MLA (Modern Language Association) convention. The g-friend had been desperately seeking high paying professorial poetry-related employment for over 2 yrs - almost the e
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
So far this book has been really interesting. My sister's friend wrote it. It's about a girl and her imagination and what a college-aged introvert goes through. Although I don't believe she would be your "average" 20-something. I do believe this girl had a REAL problem, mentally. She was an introvert to the Nth degree, and she allowed abuse in her life because of this. The writing style is very different. Lots of run-on sentence structures, and I'm thinking the author is foreign since her refere ...more
Tom Thompson
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Early in this novel the main character M--- is in a writing class where the prof delivers the old (not untrue) canard that stories need something to "really" happen in them, not simply possess the potential for something to happen. Zurawski tests this truism in a novel composed as the experience of a single consciousness over a period of time. M--- possesses something like an Autism of Pure Feeling, although I don't want that label to make her seem merely strange, when in fact what she's going t ...more
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The novel is not a form I enjoy, unless written by a poet, and an EXCELLENT poet at that! Next to Eileen Myles's novel COOL FOR YOU, this is MY VERY FAVORITE NOVEL OF ALL TIME!

There is a marvelous teaser excerpt available here: which you should check out!


If you're fortunate enough to hear Magdalena Zurawski read from the novel, DON'T MISS THAT READING EVENT! You'll never forget hearing her read from it! The magic TH
Roz Ito
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is a beautifully written bildungsroman that revolves around what Michel Foucault talks about here:

"How has sexuality come to be considered the privileged place where our deepest 'truth' is read and expressed? For that is the essential fact: Since Christianity, the Western world has never ceased saying: 'To know who you are, know what your sexuality is.' Sex has always been the forum where both the future of our species and our 'truth' as human subjects are decided."

For M, the semi-anonymous
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
The Bruise was a hard book to read, for the first half. The main character is laid bare throughout her growth process. The narrator's voice is very stream-of-consciousness, and overly-analytical. However, once I got used to the spiral logic, it was an easy read, and, while not quite enjoyable, it was definitely interesting to be so completely introduced to someone's emotional and logical state.

Edit: Hear Magdalena Zurawski on NPR's The State of Things:
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I nicely bought this as a gift and then began to read it on the plane home and I'll say this, it's really good. I was just at the AWP and having the feeling that a person can have sometimes which is where are the interesting and smart queer fiction writers, and okay so she's a poet, but still. More TK.
Carrie Lorig
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
i thought it was a lovely thing to read while i felt torn apart. and the bruise on a woman face. i have read that before and i liked reading it again. it is the portrait of the artist as a young man except her is contemporary female voice ribbing it. i liked it. i cried a little in front of the airplane going to the dominican republic.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another creatively-written book; entirely inside the head of a young woman in college who is either mentally unbalanced or severely embracing her poetic/literary leanings. The writing was refreshing, challenging, beautiful, and (be warned) stream-of-consciousness. A great balance with the storytelling of her senior year of college.
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bought-online
mystical sad sweet and erotic. I prolonged finishing this one as long as possible...
Jacob Russell
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-home-library
I love this book! I enjoyed the narrative style, the craft of the writing, the interior struggles of the implied author, and everything else. I just wanted it to be longer.
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This took a lot out of me to read.
The writing style took forever to get used to, and the repetition it used was tedious, despite the repetitious rambling being a main character attribute-- but I suppose the style at least made the author's novella into a short book, and that can be its purpose? Hm.

Overall, I enjoyed the themes and trains of thought, but it was hard to get past the style to really appreciate the book as other readers have.
Cannot fairly review as I barely got into it before I closed it forever. Page 24 was the decision maker-a full page on how the plate of ham served to her was crooked in the cafeteria guy's hand (shuuuuuutuuuup)-this is just not my kind of writing.
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Unsettling brilliant. Or perhaps it’s unsettling and brilliant, but it’s definitely not unbrilliantly settling. I say brilliant because it’s brilliant in the way that brilliance is garnered when staring deep inside the psychosis of one’s self. I say unsettling because perhaps it hits a little too close to home on some level— home being my own introverted and loner-induced days of collegiate conquest, spent over thinking and spiraling deep into my own thoughts, etc. In fact, I regret not being ab ...more
Faith Reidenbach
Abandoned on page 25. To be fair to the author, I knew I was getting into "experimental" fiction, which I seldom like, and a story about a young writer (ditto). What I wasn't expecting was to encounter such an accurate rendering of the mind of a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder. No thanks!
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it

I gotta process this one for some time. What I will tell you is that I cracked it in the car on a day trip to Providence, Rhode Island and once I realized it took place in Providence, Rhode Island I made sure to finish it completely there.
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Book club book numero dos.

Don't do it.
Oct 21, 2013 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Stacey by: reviewer on Goodreads
I love the title.
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Jeron Jennings
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Michael Martrich
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The Bruise: Winner of the Ronald Sukenick Prize for Innovative Fiction and the 2009 Lambda Award for Lesbian Debut Fiction.

About the Author

Magdalena Zurawski was born in 1972 to Polish immigrants in New Jersey, where she attended Catholic School for twelve years before escaping north to Providence, Rhode Island to study literature at Brown. Currently, she lives in Durham, North Carolina. The Bruis
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