Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Pink Institution” as Want to Read:
The Pink Institution
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Pink Institution

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  358 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Interweaving visceral, atmospheric prose with historical photographs, images and texts, The Pink Institution traces four generations of Mississippi women from their run-down, post-Civil War plantations to the modern-day trailer parks that house the youngest generations. As the impoverished decay of the Deep South expresses itself through their bloodlines, a new impression ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Coffee House Press (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Pink Institution, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Pink Institution

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I want to read this forever.
Meg Tuite
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know how I let this sit on my desk for a few months. Yes, I am overwhelmed with a hunger for books, buying bookshelves to clear out the endless stacks that surround me.
I heard about Saterstrom from GoodReads. That review had me buying it immediately. I have a problem in this arena of jumping in and ordering, but have to say I am rarely steered in the wrong direction.
I wasn’t roped in from the start when I got a copy and opened it. After picking it up a few more times and moving further
i loved this - crossgenre southern gothic novel/memoirish/poetry/prose/everything. the form shifts as time advances. fascinating and beautifully done. creepy and horrifying often, and emotionally blank in parts. there is an extended section on a Transformers pencil eraser that is terrific. i'd quote it but i'm in bed and don't want to move to get the book even though it's on the ground right next to me. excited to read Saterstrom's other book The Meat and Spirit Plan.
Margaret Wappler
Jun 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I just really, really loved this book. I'm a sucker for fucked up Southern familes for one, but also, Selah S. just writes the most beautiful, cracked and violent poetry-prose. Recommended for those who like Anne Carson but with a side of bloody mary and a smack in the jaw from your Uncle Beau.
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This incredible book was given to me by an incredible man. It was an experience that was at the same time cleansing and poisoning. I can't recommend this book enough
Sarah Cheshire
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: victoria
Nov 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: american-south, 2017
I have no idea what I just read.
Amy Ellis
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit, this book was good.

I read it a few years back and I think I enjoyed it even more on a second read.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Short and intense. The way it was structured, was confusing at times though.
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary
Impressions of Horror

Saterstrom, Selah (2004). The Pink Institution. St. Paul, MN: Coffee House Press.

This experimental novel is a story of four generations of Mississippi females, stretching from around 1940 to the early 2000’s, although “story” is too strong a term for what is presented, a set of impressions, poems, quotations and old photographs that imply lives of ignorance, filth, decay, brutality, alcohol, sickness and death. The girls are born into poverty, live in rot, are uneducated, ab
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recently-read
It's been a while since I read this book, but since I'm currently reading Saterstrom's latest offering - The Meat and Spirit Plan - I wanted to give The Pink Institution a big thumbs-up. This book was a surprising find when I first read it and all the pieces I've read from Saterstrom since then (particularly in Sleeping Fish) have maintained the same high level of originality. Well worth your time.
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
This short novel felt far too contrived, deliberate, and strange, to the point where there was no way I could identify with any of the characters, and I have no doubt in my mind that that's precisely what Saterstrom was trying to do. While I appreciated her brazen layout decisions, emphasizing the importance of the way the text is organized, including small pictures and odd graphics, it didn't work for me.

Kae Cheatham
May 13, 2011 rated it liked it
(experimental) Novella

A composite of poetic prose and first person renderings that show a family's history and present. Sort of a shorthand Faulkner look at southern families and lineage. It was often troublesome both in subject and style, but a compelling read.
Kristen Ringman
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
I loved the end parts of this book which were in first person narrative, but most of the beginning and middle in third person were just too jumbled for me to care about the characters at all...interesting cross-genre text, though...
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
A visceral blend of poetry and prose, 1st and 3rd person, that loosely follows four generations of women's lives in the brutal, poverty-stricken post-Civil War South to the present day. Stark, beautiful, disturbing, and unique...
Dec 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
If you like highly fragmented lyric fiction, check this out. If you don't, stay away. I love the Southernness of this story, the way Saterstrom tracks the generations through the females, the constant pulling together and breaking apart. Innovative.
Aug 01, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2005reads
Poetic, sort of autobiography. Interesting
Mar 10, 2010 added it
The Pink Institution is a family saga in which trauma/brutality is at a distance. We view pain through a fogged window. The writing is spare, chilling and heartbreaking.
Aug 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: southern
Short, brutal, affecting.

Combination of poetry and prose - language is fierce and lyrical.
Carrie Lorig
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it
some pearl handles. not as many as i usually like to eat in a sitting.
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Inventive. Disturbed & disturbing. Can't wait to read her next book, The Meat and Spirit Plan. A truly exciting new writer.
T Powers
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Interesting, I can't say anymore.......
Sep 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
an excellent and bizarre mix of Faulkner,Allison,and surreal poetry.
an abstract portrait of a family through minutia and child-like epiphanies.
Aug 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
This, Selah Saterstrom's first book, plays on some of my greatest fears, yet it is masterfully written, innovative, disruptive and new.
Lisa J.K.
Jul 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
An amazing example of how a writer can provoke so much emotion and thought with so few words! The text is intimidating at first, but just dive in and experience it!
Katie Schmid
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really loved this one and "The Meat & Spirit Plan". This one's all about the South, madness, being a girl in a time not particularly girl-friendly. It's beautiful and weird and funny.
Oct 23, 2007 rated it did not like it
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, poetry
The Pink Institution is an fascinating hybrid text, both experimental and highly readable. She has a gift for pungent, matter-of-fact narration with austere yet vivid detail.
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Love the way this is structured.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Excerpts from a Family Medical Dictionary
  • Humanimal: A Project for Future Children
  • [one love affair]*
  • Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You
  • The California Poem
  • Attempts at a Life
  • This Road Will Take Us Closer to the Moon
  • Pink Steam
  • Jane: A Murder
  • Break Every Rule: Essays on Language, Longing, and Moments of Desire
  • Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip
  • Souls of the Labadie Tract
  • Next Life
  • I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time
  • Madeleine is Sleeping
  • The Exquisite
  • The Collected Books
  • In the Pines
Selah Saterstrom is the author of the novels Slab, The Meat and Spirit Plan, and The Pink Institution, all published by Coffee House Press. In 2016 Essay Press will publish a collection of her essays on Divinatory Poetics. She is the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Denver.