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Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  436 ratings  ·  64 reviews
How do the bodies we inhabit affect our relationship with art? How does art affect our relationship to our bodies? T Fleischmann uses Felix Gonzáles-Torres's artworks—piles of candy, stacks of paper, puzzles—as a path through questions of love and loss, violence and rejuvenation, gender and sexuality. From the back porches of Buffalo, to the galleries of New York and L.A., ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Coffee House Press
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  436 ratings  ·  64 reviews


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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Not too interesting.
Not too good writing.
Not too medically informed.
Not too healthy a relationship with oneself portrayed.

The main protagonist is seriously at odds with their body, looks, sex, life, people... many things. I don't think their main issue was their sex or whatever. This protagonist came across as abused, taken advantage of, misunderstood person who suffered way too much and not just from gender dysphoria but from general lack of self-sympathy, which is an entirely too painful thi
...more
Michael
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
A free-floating long essay on sex, art, and intimacy, examining what it means to live and love in radically new ways. In alternately frank and refined prose reminiscent of Maggie Nelson’s, Fleischmann roams among sundry memories from their past—their childhood in a working-class Midwestern town, their summer stays in New York as an adult, their experience of rural Tennessee—and they consider the different kinds of relationships they’ve held over time to queerness, transness, and leftist politics ...more
John
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think this is the first book I truly loved in 2019. It's such a wonderfully built essay/book, circling and weaving, always on the move. Mixing criticism & autobiography, it reads similarly to Maggie Nelson, and anyone who liked Bluets or The Argonauts should probably read this (especially because there's not the weird fetishism-y vibes of trans people in this one).

The way that Fleischmann discusses their identity, their resistance to much of the firm language relating to queer identities, is
...more
Morgan M. Page
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
T. Fleischmann's Time is the Thing a Body Moves Through is a thing of collective beauty. One part meditation on ephemeral transsexual love, one part art criticism of the work of Félix González-Torres, and a third part ice, Clutch's book length essay escapes easy classification - is it perhaps precisely what Trish Salah means when she says trans-genre. If you know that look you know that look is exactly how this book moved through my body. There is something very gorgeous and almost tragic throug ...more
Oliver Baez Bendorf
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"I know it's not that simple, tit for tap, but I don't want to give any more of my touch to language. I just want language to generate more touch." A book about Felix Gonzalez-Torres, ice, and sex, but also coming into one's body and how or why to live and love "uninscribed," as a writer. I read this out loud to a lover in two three-hour stretches over two days. It's tender, agile, and smart, and I didn't want it to end.
Megan
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trans, on-writing, queer
Per its title, it's no surprise that this book offers an embodied movement through time -- and yet it resists narrative fixity. Fleischmann brings to it a great deal of respect for experience, change, motion, difference, space--and love, via complex intimacies that bloom and retreat and defy categorization. Super trans4trans and politicized as a given, while resisting inscription in queer/trans identity politics -- the author draws on the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres to offer a politics of the ...more
Eileen Ying
ugh i’m sucker for book-length essays, and this one’s so loving and grimy / lovingly grimy. it concerns me that the most popular review on goodreads is high key transphobic and recommends that fleischmann seek medical help ... what the fuck??
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This is a long essay about the artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, ice, and sex. No, that is just the superficial description. It is about transformation in the uninscribed. As a trans person, the author focuses a lot on the transitions of the body, whether through aging, gender, or death. Also explored are the relationship between love and desire, societal change, and, of course, the transformations of ice (breaking, melting). Complex, but grounded. Graphic, yet compassionate.
The flow is a bit chopp
...more
Isaac R. Fellman
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful punk book that explores a lot of weird trans feelings without knocking too many of them down. I feel glad that Fleischmann’s editors trusted this book to be itself and didn’t try to argue the author out of the very necessary digressions and pauses.
Kurt Ostrow
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"Empathy connects us beyond our physical form.
It feels like the unhinged body—
like a slight, warm sadness, at seeing two clocks set to the
same time,
and knowing they slowly tick apart" (54).

Extraordinary, this hybrid of art criticism and memoir. Fleischmann stunned me equally with their insights into Felix Gonzalez-Torres' work on the one hand and gender, sex/uality, bodies, relationships (heartbreak!), politics on the other—basically, queer life-making in this fucked up country. Gorgeous prose,
...more
Chad
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This essay is many things, and at times felt meandering, but the writing and lived-experience that is detailed in these pages feels so utterly radical and raw, with no sort of editorial filter to make it more palatable—a commendable achievement. It was a nice reminder that writing about a queer experience does not (should not) need to be sanitized or explained. Some of the descriptions of various art pieces/installations went fully over my head, but I so enjoyed the voice and never knew what was ...more
Paulina
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Water is a bit like the moon, in that if we are not careful, it will
accumulate our ideas to a measure that obscures it.
To even place them together—
the moon, at dusk, reflected on a pond,
or the suspended water of a cloud obscuring the moon—
is to suggest a deep, almost selfish romanticism.
Such romanticism is pleasant, and I have spent many nights
on a Brooklyn roof or a Tennessee hillside gazing at the moon
and thinking of someone I loved.
Sometimes a person far away, sometimes sleeping in my bed.
The
...more
Akiva
I liked this, and parts were interesting, and I was even here for the heavy art talk (reminded me of high school), but the central idea of writing around the edges of things without naming them is one of those things I find boring in lit, especially when it's relationships. I'm not deep enough, probably.

The bit about the Publick Universal Friend was interesting, but it's not a large part of the book, nor as integrated as the Félix González-Torres stuff. I was impressed by the way it contextualiz
...more
Leo Robertson
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I bought this thinking, as per the description, it would have a lot to do with Felix Gonzales-Torres' work. I was excited for a contemporary take on it.

I first encountered Felix Gonzales-Torres' work in the Astrup Fearnley gallery in Oslo. Untitled (Blue Placebo) was on display. The piece, for those who don't know, is a pile of boiled sweets wrapped in blue cellophane. 130 kg of which, to be precise, the weight (as I understand it) of Gonzales-Torres' lover Ross, who eventually died of AIDS. The
...more
Maggie
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fleischmann’s book is compelling! Content and format that successfully drives the plot forward, leaving me wanting to know what happens next. Erotic, focused, and lyrical!
Alanna Why
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Picked this up on a whim from the best bookstore in Toronto, Type Books on Queen Street West, with my friend Lewis. I had never heard of it or the author before, but it only took me a page before I fell in love: "Another, in a typo, says he likes to "cook and choirs." It's a lyric essay/poem mixed with art history that offers a lot of nuanced ideas about gender, sexuality, relationships, art and the constraints of definition, which are pretty much all of my favourite things to read/think about. ...more
Sarah
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous and always surprising book length essay. I most loved the narrative interruptions and the way that multiple selves and voices were allowed to speak alongside and sometimes over each other, even though you feel all the time that you are in the hands of singular brilliant essayist. The last line was perfect and the the pages building up to it some of my favorite in the book. Finally, I appreciate that love was at the center of this investigation but never was it or anything here ro ...more
Laura
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
The parts about Felix Gonzales-Torres’ works were only really a small part of the book, but they were my favourite parts. I think I just like reading about how people react and interact with art, and I really enjoyed how Fleischmann connected the works with their own queer existence while still dealing with the specific contexts under which the works were made? It also made me want to learn more about Gonzales-Torres!
M. Sarki
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Not my cup of tea. Not fair to review a work on a subject I know nothing about. But I will rate the book as OK even though it was not.
Trevolio
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
sensitive, honest and gorgeous prose. sensuous, love the descriptions of encounter with Gonzales-Torres; very much needed to read this kind of intimate art writing
Leo Rachman
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this essay. I think it follows a very non-linear line, and it dances between memoir, essay, and creative non-fiction. I was really intrigued by the author's attention to detail, especially how the author unabashedly talked about the intricacies of the narrator's sex life, how friendship and sexual relationships come together, and how their gender and sex really does not matter/is not core to who they are as a person.

It's hard to discern if there was any kind of a thesis
...more
Natalie
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Okay I'll be honestly didn't understand about 25% of this book and thought the transitions were a bit choppy at times but I always love a book that's a mix of essay, memoir, and poetry. Especially if you are writing about queerness and art, two of my favorite themes in nonfiction. This isn't my new favorite book or anything but its so my thing I wish there was more like this. I think this is the year of the memoir/personal essay.
Adrian Chiem
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a love letter — to Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and to exploration as a means of understanding, and to connections with other bodies, and to, believe it or not, ice.

In many ways, I am reminded of Maggie Nelson’s “The Argonauts,” in length, in introspection on body and sexuality and gender, in incorporation of analysis, in meandering from thought to thought. By analysis, I do not mean the level of gender theory Nelson weaves in her memoir, but rather I mean relating to the stories and dict
...more
Marija (Inside My Library Mind)
i love adding books based on the title ONLY
g
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
stunning and lyrical, a beautiful piece
Mack
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
delicious, celebratory, gay af, real
Taylor Clarke
Not for me personally, but the wonder at the world here is really quite enviable
Kylie King
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
What everyone else says. T's itinerant exploration of their past, it was well done, with moments of real clarity and humanity. Connecting the works of Felix Gonzales-Torres with their own queer existence and the contexts under which the works were made were among the best parts.
Joerg Rings
I really longed to like this more, not least because the title embodies everything I think literature I live us about. And there are raw gems of brilliance in this book which I think make it worth reading, but at least 80 percent are just a slog, that feels like it just throws edgy queer sexuality in your face on repeat in a way to implicate placated emptiness in life all over. It just feels gratuitous and uninspired.
Elina Uotila
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq-favorites
4.5 stars!
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T Fleischmann is the author of Syzygy, Beauty and the curator of Body Forms: Queerness and the Essay. A nonfiction editor at DIAGRAM and contributing editor at Essay Daily, they have published critical and creative work in journals such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, and others, as well as in the anthologies Bending Genre, How We Speak to One Another, Little Boxes, a ...more

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“If the aliens do show up, I hope they’ll see people they want to save. Friends and magnificent sluts, smashing the walls of the prisons and burning all the money, running around with signs that declare our liberation. Our hands up in the air and then down again, like some people in love. Our hands taking from two stacks of paper, “Nowhere better than this place” and “Somewhere better than this place.” Just a small part of the relentlessness of people in love, finding ways to make pleasure through all time. With losses that are shared and that no one else knows. I guess that’s what the story is. A story of bodies that are different, of people who fuck up and make each other happy and then die. Where everything is impossible and so we try to make it real. Where it’s spring, and the season of ice has passed.” 1 likes
“Anyway, you never get there, you just keep going. Things are repeated, and sometimes we mistake the fact of their repetition for their value. It can make it seem like we aren’t supposed to change, or like our love has to be just so. It can make it seem as though what we know is best, which it only sometimes is. But maybe that’s okay. Even when imagining takes us away, it still begins with what’s already here.” 1 likes
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