A brilliant, funny, and emphatically raw novel of love on the brink of the apocalypse, from the acclaimed author of The Lonely City.
“She had no idea what to do with love, she experienced it as invasion, as the prelude to loss and pain, she really didn’t have a clue.”
Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It’s the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart....more
“Evil was a subject of interest for Kathy, she wasn’t squeamish, she worked years in a strip joint in time square, she knew about appetite and dead eyes”. ......
This modern woman’s inner voice was grappling with fears - anxieties- questioning love-life- happiness - and salvation.
‘Every page’ has narrative that jolts our senses.
I read this right after seeing Michael Moore’s new film,
“Fahrenheit 11/9” ...more
4,5. There is no solid ground anymore. The now is build on quicksand in swamp area.
What the hell is she talking about 0,5.
Nailed it 5.
That's exactly as I feel 6.
Lost you 1.
Lost you again 1,5.
Focus Joachim focus 3.
Sign o the times 4,5.
Not again 2.
Fuck Trump 5.
Cusk is better 2.
Ali Smith is sometimes similar 3.
Tweets used in lit 4,5.
Lost me. 1
Why this description 2.
This chaotic, neurotic, vague, over ...more
Was this getting older? Kathy was worried about aging. She hadn't realized youth wasn't a permanent state, that she wouldn't always be cute and hopeless and forgivable. She wasn't stupid, she was just greedy: she wanted it always to be the first time. When she thought about the people she'd populated her youth with she cringed. She could have made it so much more glamorous, so much more debonair, she needn't have had a bowl cut, she needn't have worn ...more
I must admit to having been a little apprehensive about reading this book, as its main inspiration Kathy Acker is not somebody I know much about, but the more I read of this, the more I liked it. The main protagonist is a post-modern mash-up in which the late Acker's personality inhabits Laing's life over a four month period in 2017, a period in which Laing turned 40, got married and wrote this book, while getting increasingly distracted by the ...more
It was uncomputable, it was the province of the novel, that hopeless apparatus of guesswork and supposition, with which Kathy liked to have as little traffic as possible. She wrote fiction, sure, but she populated it with the already extant, the pre packaged and ready made. She was in...more
Uh-oh Leonard Bernstein
and yeah some novels are clearly more rewarding than others but the kind of story I find least lovable of all is the extended riff of a shallow but worried character baring her inch-deep all in an endless hipster confession that reads like a poser-nudnik's New Yorker short story indulgently stretched to 150 pages.
James Joyce this ain't. Abandoned with relief at 42%. Really.
Did Olivia Laing just invent the "biographical pastiche"? In "Crudo", she cross-fades her life with the life of punk rock author and feminist icon Kathy Acker, not only remixing biographical facts, but also emulating Acker's signature rawness and radical openness to meditate about our current state of affairs.
Our protagonist is 40-year-old "Kathy", and the story, set in 2017, is a snapshot of her life shortly before and after her wedding day - Kathy ...more
I couldn't really get past Laing kinda pretending she was Kathy Acker. The whole Kathy Acker thing made no sense to me - why are we pretending Acker is alive? and then if we were going along with it being Kathy Acker aged 40, how we were then meant to believe she was friends with loads of people who died during the aids crises when she would only have been about 10? I know that its a novel and that anything can happen really, but I was completely unconvinced by the whole ...more
Told in the voice of a narrator who may or may not be Kathy Acker (an experimental writer and feminist icon who died in 1997), this book is a stream-of-consciousness thought dump, taking place in the summer of 2017. The narrator spends her days doing mostly nothing – sunbathing in hotels for the super-rich, getting on and off planes, socializing, fretting about her upcoming wedding - while compulsively consuming the news – mostly about Trump and North Korea, ...more
Somehow, Kathy Acker, the punk-rock author and feminist icon of the 80s who died in 1997, survived to witness our days and use social media. Except, actually, it’s not really Kathy Acker but Olivia Laing herself, if we dare look into all the autobiographical clues the text of Crudo presents to us: Kathy is marrying for the third time to a man twenty-nine years a senior, who is also a writer. That is, in fact, not the story of Kathy Acker, the deceased icon, but of Olivia Laing, who ...more
Kathy, by which I mean I, was getting married. Kathy, by which I mean I, had just got off a plane ...more
Shortlisted for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize, Olivia Laing's Crudo certainly displays the required 'spirit of invention ... extending the possibilities of the novel form':
Kathy, by which I mean I, was getting married. Kathy, by which I mean I, had just got off a plane from New York. It was 19:45 on 13 May 2017.
Two and a half months later, pre-wedding, post decision to wed, Kathy found herself in Italy ... Now, 2 August 2017, she was ...more
Olivia Laing’s “Crudo” was one of the most challenging and compelling ...more
“2017 was turning into a bumper year, a real doozy, everything arse about tit.’
This is a story about 40-year-old Kathy (an amalgam of a deceased author Kathy Acker and Olivia Laing herself) who is getting married and is just about as messed up as 2017. But unlike 2017, which let’s face it led to the travesty that is 2018, can ...more
I didn't actively hate this, but I felt so much of it was insular and preaching to a very specific audience, one that I am definitely on the outskirts of. I know I read SOMETHING by Acker back when she was au courant, but I couldn't tell you what - and I suspect a week from now I could pick this up and read it and be convinced I had never touched it before. In other words, nothing in it sticks. It's all just gimmicky mental masturbation.
Edit: I dislike this the more I think about it. It’s politically really dumb - twitter might just be a stream of news events but that’s not how we ultimately emotionally experience the news. If it’s a critique of the self-absorbed middle-classes, it doesn’t go far enough at all. It excuses its own ignorance and lack of engagement by pretending it’s just depicting a milieu. And making the narrator, a version of Kathy Acker, toothless by suggesting all radicals settle down in the ...more
Contemporary + Literary Fiction
This book hardly had any plot, it depends mainly on a stream of consciousness. So if you dislike that you should stay away from it. The story is told from the main character's (Kathy) perspective. The narration keeps changing from a first-person to a third person. Kathy who is in her 40s is getting married for the third time in a few days and we get to follow her life in those few days (the present) but through a huge stream of consciousness, ...more
”Kathy, by which I mean I, was getting married. Kathy, by which I mean I, had just got off a plane in New York.”
And so begins this slim novel of sorts. With that opener, I already knew I was going to love this.
It’s 2017, and somewhere in the world, ‘Kathy’ is going about her life. She is getting married, and debating the merits of this, while also having millennial worries about herself and how she measures up, about aging and who’s having the best holidays...but also current affairs ...more
Her second, The Trip to Echo Spring (2013), explores the liquid links between ...more