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Crudo

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3.33  ·  Rating details ·  4,038 ratings  ·  562 reviews
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.
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Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Picador; Main Market edition (first published June 28th 2018)
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Sam Yes! I love Olivia Laing, though I just didn't get into The Trip to Echo Springs.…moreYes! I love Olivia Laing, though I just didn't get into The Trip to Echo Springs. (less)
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Average rating 3.33  · 
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 ·  4,038 ratings  ·  562 reviews


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Simon
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without a doubt one of the most thought provoking books about ‘now’ I have read. Imagine Maggie Nelson wrote a novella about the summer of 2017 and discussed Trump, Brexit, Korea, gender, identity, sexuality, icebergs, mass wildlife decimation and all through a women just about to marry for the third time. And you’ve kind of got the gist.
Blair
Kathy, by which I mean I, was getting married, goes the first line of Crudo. By means of references to her books, this first/third-person narrator clarifies that she is, or is talking about, Kathy Acker. And that it is specifically 19:45 on 13 May 2017. In this way, Crudo presents a challenge and a mystery on its very first page, since Acker died in 1997. Laing herself, on the other hand, did, as the character does, turn 40 and get married in 2017. Many other details point to the story being ...more
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
Gorgeously written...with tenderness - intriguingly unique -compassion- and inspiring humanity.
“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”
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Joachim Stoop
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5.
4,5. There is no solid ground anymore. The now is build on quicksand in swamp area.
2,1.
What the hell is she talking about 0,5.
Nailed it 5.
3,5.
4,5.
2,5.
2,5.
3,5.
2.
1.
3.
4.
4,5.
3,5.
5.
That's exactly as I feel 6.
Lost you 1.
Ok 3.
Lost you again 1,5.
Preach! 5.
Focus Joachim focus 3.
Sign o the times 4,5.
2.
3,5.
3,7.
3,8.
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.
Unclear.
Continue 3
Yes 4
This chaotic, neurotic, vague, over
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Melki
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Italian, crudo [ˈkruːdo] means "raw."

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
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Jerrie (redwritinghood)
At the risk of sounding old, I’m not liking the recent spate of stream-of-consciousnesses novels. They make me feel like the author just threw up all over me. The style aside, this book gives some interesting commentary on the current state of the world and the urgency and helplessness a lot of people are feeling. 2.5 ...more
Hugh
Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2018

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
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Gumble's Yard
This is a book about immediacy and Twitter, so it seems appropriate that the day after I read it, I saw via a tweet that it had been nominated for the 2018 Goldsmith Prize. I have subsequently re read the book.

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
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Meike
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, uk
Now Nominated for the Goldsmiths Prize 2018
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
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lucky little cat
So. I've been reading stream-of-consciousness fiction off and on again since 1979


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.
Sian Lile-Pastore
Jul 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I did not care for this.
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
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Maxwell
Apr 29, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, 2019
Did not connect with this at all. Any longer and I would have quit reading it.
But_i_thought_
Alas, this book wasn't for me.

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,
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Maddie
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 2,5

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
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Neil
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, 2018-goldsmiths
UPDATE: Now read for a second time and I am less impressed than the first time. I found it hard to escape the feeling that I was skating across the surface of something and never getting underneath it. I believe this is the author's intention, to capture the ephemerality of modern life etc., but I found it frustrating more than anything else. Rating adjusted accordingly.

------------------------------

Kathy, by which I mean I, was getting married. Kathy, by which I mean I, had just got off a plane
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Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
Willa Cather, by which I mean I, was getting revolted. Willa, by which I mean I, had just ordered a cafe latte, she was feeling fancy, she read the first six pages of Crudo. Willa bailed. I mean I.
Paul Fulcher
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goldsmiths-2018, 2018
What is art if it's not plagarising the world?

Shortlisted for the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize, Olivia Laing's Crudo certainly displays the required 'spirit of invention ... extending the possibilities of the novel form':

It begins:

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
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Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City
Ten years ago, maybe even five, it was possible to ignore atrocities, to believe that these things happened somewhere else, in a different order of reality from your own. Now, perhaps because of the internet, it was like the blind spot had got very small, and motional like a marble. You couldn't rely on it. You could go on holiday but you knew corpses washed up there, if not now then then, or later. — Olivia Laing, Crudo
.
.
Olivia Laing’s “Crudo” was one of the most challenging and compelling
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Maria Hill AKA MH Books
This is about the Summer and Autumn of 2017; about Brexit, Trump, floods, fires, Twitter, Nuclear bomb testing, sumptuous parties, inane conversations, hangovers from hell.

“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
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Doug
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5, rounded down.

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.
Possibly in Michigan, London
Quick thoughts:-

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
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Eric Anderson
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recently I made a video talking about examples of contemporary authors who fictionally reimagine the lives of classic authors. But it's been a funny coincidence that the past two novels I've read do this exact thing in creatively pioneering ways. Cristina Rivera Garza brought back multiple versions of the Mexican writer Amparo Davila in her gender-bending “The Iliac Crest” and now Olivia Laing has done so in her first novel “Crudo” by merging her own identity with that of punk poet and ...more
Constantine
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Genre:
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
Britta Böhler
Wild at heart & weird on top...
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 26, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I lack the patience or interest to get through this one right now. I remember buying a Kathy ACker book, maybe I should start there.
Katia N
May 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book might be described as a stream of consciousness by the main protagonist. And normally I would like this form. From the first page we understand that the main protagonist is a woman who might be Kathy Acker (a feminist icon who died in 1997) or might be the other woman who lives in 2017. Or more likely, it is the woman who strongly identifies with Kathy Acker to the point of not making the difference. It is a very hard premise to deliver in the narrative. And I found the execution ...more
jo
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-britain
i'm a bit stuck on something here. crudo, the italian word, means indeed "raw." but anyone who has spent more than a week in italy, and laing definitely has, knows that the first association anyone has to the word crudo used by itself and out of context is to prosciutto. italians call prosciutto "prosciutto crudo" or just "crudo." i wouldn't know why laing would choose this particular word for her novel's title, but since it evokes luxury and pleasure (prosciutto is both super tasty and ...more
Robert Lukins
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully delirious dig into the summer of 2017, Kathy Acker, confusion, love; all the mad and hard things.
Heather
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Non-current events shoehorned into a cold narrative about nothing. Immediately dated and with nothing to say.
ns510
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

”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
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Olivia Laing is a writer and critic. Her first book, To the River (2011) is the story of a midsummer journey down the river Virginia Woolf drowned in. It was a book of the year in the Evening Standard, Independent and Financial Times and was shortlisted for the 2012 Ondaatje Prize and the Dolman Travel Book of the Year.

Her second, The Trip to Echo Spring (2013), explores the liquid links between
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“You think you know yourself inside out when you live alone, but you don't, you believe you are a calm untroubled or at worst melancholic person, you do not realise how irritable you are, how any little thing, the wrong kind of touch or tone, a lack of speed in answering a question, a particular cast of expression will send you into apoplexy because you are unchill, because you have not learnt how to soften your borders, how to make room. You're selfish and rigid and absorbed, you're like an infant.” 3 likes
“Ten years ago, maybe even five, it was possible to ignore atrocities, to believe that these things happened somewhere else, in a different order of reality from your own. Now, perhaps because of the internet, it was like the blind spot had got very small, and motional like a marble. You couldn't rely on it. You could go on holiday but you knew corpses washed up there, if not now then then, or later.” 2 likes
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