by Semiotext(e)

If You're a Girl: Selected Stories 1985–2023
Ann Rower
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

The trailblazing book that influenced a generation of writers, and proves that mature reflection needn't be lacking in attitude.

In the beginning when everything was very sexual we talked about our fantasies. She thought about having a guy for some of it. She thought about having a gun. I had gone through a lot to get away from guys so I admit that the thought of going back to them, even for a little adventure, was surprising and disconcerting …

Ann Rower's first book, If You're a Girl, published by Semiotext(e)'s Native Agents series in 1991 in tandem with Cookie Mueller's Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, cemented her reputation as the Eve Babitz of lower Manhattan.

Rower was fifty-three years old at the time. Her stories—urtexts of female autofiction—had long been circulating within the poetry and postpunk music scenes. They were unlike anyone else's: disarming, embarrassing, psuedoconfessional tales of everyday life dizzily told and laced with dry humor. In If You're a Girl, she recounts her adventures as Timothy Leary's babysitter, her artistic romance with actor Ron Vawter, and her attempts to evade a schizophrenic stalker.

Rower went on to publish two novels: Armed Response (1995) and Lee & Elaine (2002). After the 2002 suicide of her partner, the writer Heather Lewis, Rower stopped writing for almost two decades. And then she picked up where If You're a Girl left off. No longer a girl, she produced dozens of stories from her life in New York as an octogenarian.

This new, expanded edition includes most of the original book, together with selections from both her novels and her recent writings. If You're a Girl is a trailblazing book that manifests Rower's influence on a generation of writers, and proves that mature reflection needn't be lacking in attitude.

Ann Rower is the author of If You're A Girl, Armed Response, and Lee & Elaine. She received a PhD from Columbia University in sixteenth-century English literature in 1974, and has collaborated with the Wooster Group as a writer. Rower taught writing in New York at the School for Visual Arts between 1974 and 2019.

Introduction by Sheila Heti.

Playboy
Constance Debré
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

The prequel to Love Me Tender, narrating Debré's transformation from affluent career woman to broke single lesbian and writer.

I see all her beauty, I see the beauty of women. I see my own body, new. I tell myself there are so many things that are possible.

First published in France in 2018, Playboy is the first volume of Constance Debré's renowned autobiographical trilogy that describes her decision, at age forty-three, to abandon her marriage, her legal career, and her bourgeois Parisian life to become a lesbian and a writer.

The novel unfolds in a series of short, sharp vignettes. The narrator's descriptions of her first female lovers—a married woman fifteen years older than her, a model ten years her junior—are punctuated by encounters with her ex-husband, her father, and her son.

As Debré recently told Granta: “It was a bit like Saint Augustine and his conversion. In the same week, I had sex with a girl and I had the feeling that I could write. I had this incredible feeling that I could catch things, that life was there to be caught.”

Looking at the world through fresh eyes, the narrator of Playboy questions everything that once lay beneath the surface of her well-managed life. Laconic, aggressive, and radically truthful, she examines gender and marriage, selfishness and sacrifice, money and family, even the privilege inherent in her downward mobility.

Writing her way toward her own liberation, Debré chronicles the process that made her one of the most brilliant, important French writers today.

Notice
Heather Lewis
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

A classic queer text of trauma, written by one of the most talented novelists of her generation.

Published by Doubleday in 1994, Heather Lewis's chilling debut novel took place on the northeastern equestrian show-riding circuit, to which Lewis herself belonged in her teens. Expelled from boarding school, its fifteen-year-old narrator moves numbly through a world of motel rooms, heroin, dyke love, and doped horses. Kirkus Reviews found it “brutal, sensual, honest, seductive … a powerful debut,” while the New York Times found the book “grating and troublesome … it's difficult to imagine a more passive specimen.”

Almost immediately, Lewis began writing Notice, a novel that moves even further into dark territory. The teenaged narrator Nina begins turning tricks in the parking lot of the train station near the Westchester County home of her absent parents. She soon falls into a sadomasochistic relationship with a couple. Arrested, she's saved by a counselor and admitted to a psychiatric facility. But these soft forms of control turn out to be even worse. Writing in the register of an emotional fugue state, Notice's helpless but all-knowing narrator is as smooth and sharp as a knife.

Rejected by every publisher who read it during Lewis's life, Notice was eventually published by Serpent's Tail in 2004, two years after her death. The book, long out of print, emerged as a classic queer text of trauma, written by one of the most talented novelists of her generation.

Heroines, New Edition
Kate Zambreno
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

A manifesto reclaiming the wives and mistresses of literary modernism that inspired a generation of writers and scholars, reissued after more than a decade.

On the last day of December 2009, Kate Zambreno, then an unpublished writer, began a blog called "Frances Farmer Is My Sister," arising from her obsession with literary modernism and her recent transplantation to Akron, Ohio, where her partner held a university job. Widely reposted, Zambreno's blog became an outlet for her highly informed and passionate rants and melancholy portraits of the fates of the modernist “wives and mistresses," reclaiming the traditionally pathologized biographies of Vivienne Eliot, Jane Bowles, Jean Rhys, and Zelda Fitzgerald: writers and artists themselves who served as male writers' muses only to end their lives silenced, erased, and institutionalized. Over the course of two years, Frances Farmer Is My Sister helped create a community of writers and devised a new feminist discourse of writing in the margins and developing an alternative canon. 

Stubble Archipelago
Wayne Koestenbaum
Semiotext(e) - 16.00€ -

Wild new adventures in word-infatuated flânerie from a celebrated literary provocateur.

This book of thirty-six poetic bulletins by the humiliation-advice-giver Wayne Koestenbaum will teach you how to cruise, how to dream, how to decode a crowded consciousness, how to find nuggets of satisfaction in unaccustomed corners, and how to sew a language glove roomy enough to contain materials gathered while meandering.

Koestenbaum wrote many of these poems while walking around New York City. He'd jot down phrases in a notebook or dictate them into his phone. At home, he'd incorporate these fragmented gleanings into overflowing quasi sonnets. Therefore each poem functions as a coded diary entry, including specific references to sidewalk events and peripatetic perceptions. Flirting, remembering, eavesdropping, gazing, squeezing, sequestering: Koestenbaum invents a novel way to cram dirty liberty into the tight yet commodious space of the sonnet, a fourteen-lined cruise ship that contains ample suites for behavior modification, libidinal experiment, aura-filled memory orgies, psychedelic Bildungsromane, lap dissolves, archival plunges, and other mental saunterings that conjure the unlikely marriage of Kenneth Anger and Marianne Moore. Carnal pudding, anyone? These engorged lyrics don't rhyme; and though each builds on a carapace of fourteen lines, many of the lines spawn additional, indented tributaries, like hoop earrings dangling from the stanzas' lobes.

Koestenbaum's poems are comic, ribald, compressed, symphonic. They take liberties with ordinary language, and open up new pockets for sensation in the sorrowing overcoat of the “now.” Imagine: the training wheels have been removed from poetry's bicycle, and the wheeling flâneur is finally allowed a word pie equal to fantasy's appetite. Stubble—a libidinal detail—matters when you're stranded on the archipelago of your most unsanctioned yet tenaciously harbored impulses.

Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story
Gary Indiana
Semiotext(e) - 17.00€ -

A sardonic and artful reconstruction of the brief life of the party boy who became a media sensation for shooting Gianni Versace.

First published in 1999, Gary Indiana's Three Month Fever is the second volume of his famed crime trilogy, now being republished by Semiotext(e). (The first, Resentment, reissued in 2015, was set in a Menendez trial-era L.A.) In this brilliant and gripping hybrid of narrative and reflection, Indiana considers the way the media's hypercoverage transformed Andrew Cunanan's life “from the somewhat poignant and depressing but fairly ordinary thing it was into a narrative overripe with tabloid evil.”

“America loves a successful sociopath,” Indiana explains. This sardonic and artful reconstruction of the brief life of the party boy who became a media sensation for shooting Gianni Versace is a spellbinding fusion of journalism, social commentary, and novelistic projection. By following Cunanan's notorious “trail of death,” Indiana creates a compelling portrait of a brilliant, charismatic young man whose pathological lies made him feel more like other people—and more interesting than he actually was. Born in a working-class exurb of San Diego and educated at an elite private school, Cunanan strove to “blend in” with the upscale gay male scene in La Jolla. He ended up crazed and alone, eventually embarking on a three-month killing spree that took the lives of five men, including that of Versace, before killing himself in a Miami boathouse, leaving behind a range of unanswerable questions and unsolvable mysteries.

Whites, Jews, and Us: Toward a Politics of Revolutionary Love
Houria Bouteldja
Semiotext(e) - 15.00€ -  out of stock

A scathing critique of the Left from an indigenous anti-colonial perspective.

With Whites, Jews, and Us, Houria Bouteldja launches a scathing critique of the European Left from an indigenous anti-colonial perspective, reflecting on Frantz Fanon's political legacy, the republican pact, the Shoah, the creation of Israel, feminism, and the fate of postcolonial immigration in the West in the age of rising anti-immigrant populism. Drawing upon such prominent voices as James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Jean Genet, she issues a polemical call for a militant anti-racism grounded in the concept of revolutionary love.

Such love will not come without significant discomfort for whites, and without necessary provocation. Bouteldja challenges widespread assumptions among the Left in the United States and Europe—that anti-Semitism plays any role in Arab-Israeli conflicts, for example, or that philo-Semitism doesn't in itself embody an oppressive position; that feminism or postcolonialist theory is free of colonialism; that integrationalism is a solution rather than a problem; that humanism can be against racism when its very function is to support the political-ideological apparatus that Bouteldja names the "white immune system."

At this transitional moment in the history of the West—which is to say, at the moment of its decline—Bouteldja offers a call for political unity that demands the recognition that whiteness is not a genetic question: it is a matter of power, and it is high time to dismantle it.

"Why am I writing this book? Because I share Gramsci's anxiety: "The old are dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear." The fascist monster, born in the entrails of Western modernity. Of course, the West is not what it used to be. Hence my question: what can we offer white people in exchange for their decline and for the wars that will ensue? There is only one answer: peace. There is only one way: revolutionary love." — from Whites, Jews, and Us

This Semiotext(e)/Intervention series English-language edition includes a foreword by Cornel West.

Nicolas Pages
Guillaume Dustan
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

An ode to mad love, awarded the Prix de Flore in 1999. 

Published in 1999 and awarded that year's Prix de Flore, Nicolas Pages marks a departure from the Sadean preoccupations of Guillaume Dustan's first three novels; it is, in essence, a love story. Inspired by a failed romance with the Swiss artist-writer Nicolas Pages and collaging texts that Dustan initially produced for a wide variety of other occasions (magazine articles, short stories, project notes, shopping lists, and more), the "auto-/bio-/porno-graphic" prose of Nicolas Pages is by turns trashy and encyclopedic, corporeal and philosophical. Here Dustan inaugurates a "gay literature" that is no longer painful or shameful, but epicurean and cheerful without ever lapsing into idealism. A vibrant plea for gay rights and a tapestried text that is more than the sum of its many styles, Nicolas Pages is a call to explore the body, sexuality, and writing in all their variety; it is a hymn to life, humanity, pleasure, and desire.

Alien Daughters Walk Into the Sun: An Almanac of Extreme Girlhood
Jackie Wang
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

The early writings of renowned poet and critical theorist Jackie Wang, drawn from her early zines, indie-lit crit, and prolific early 2000s blog. 

Compiled as a field guide, travelogue, essay collection, and weather report, Alien Daughters Walk into the Sun traces Jackie Wang's trajectory from hard femme to Harvard, from dumpster dives and highway bike rides to dropping out of an MFA program, becoming a National Book Award finalist, and writing her trenchant book Carceral Capitalism. Alien Daughters charts the dream-seeking misadventures of an "odd girl" from Florida who emerged from punk houses and early Tumblr to become the powerful writer she is today. Anarchic and beautifully personal, Alien Daughters is a strange intellectual autobiography that demonstrates Wang's singular self-education: an early life lived where every day and every written word began like the Tarot's Fool, with a leap of faith.

Sleepless: A Memoir of Insomnia
Marie Darrieussecq
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

A restless inquiry into the cultural and psychic sources of insomnia by one of contemporary French literature's most elegant voices.

Plagued by insomnia for twenty years, Marie Darrieussecq turns her attention to the causes, implications, and consequences of sleeplessness: a nocturnal suffering that culminates at 4 a.m. and then defines the next day. “Insomniac mornings are dead mornings,” she observes. Prevented from falling asleep by her dread of exhaustion the next day, Darrieussecq turns to hypnosis, psychoanalysis, alcohol, pills, and meditation. Her entrapment within this spiraling anguish prompts her inspired, ingenious search across literature, geopolitical history, psychoanalysis, and her own experience to better understand where insomnia comes from and what it might mean. There are those, she writes, in Rwanda, whose vivid memories of genocide leave them awake and transfixed by complete horror; there is the insomnia of the unhoused, who have nowhere to put their heads down. The hyperconnection of urban professional life transforms her bedroom from a haven to a dormant electrified node.

Ranging between autobiography, clinical observation, and criticism, Sleepless is a graceful, inventive meditation by one of the most daring, inventive novelists writing today.

Artless: Stories 2019-2023
Natasha Stagg
Semiotext(e) - 17.00€ -  out of stock

Composed of stories, fragmentary essays, and even press releases Stagg has been commissioned to write, Artless captures the media landscape lived and generated in New York during the past half decade. Since the 2016 publication of her debut novel Surveys, Stagg has positioned herself as an in-demand expert on, and critic of, the psychic experience of self-mythology within the cruelly optimistic metaverse of infinite branding. Part voyeur and part participant, Stagg continues her exploration of the branded identity and its elusive, bottomless desire for authenticity.

Natasha Stagg is the author of a novel, Surveys, and a collection, Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media, New York 2011-2019. Her essays have appeared in the books Excellences and Perfections, Link in Bio: Art After Social Media, You Had To Be There: Rape Jokes, Intersubjectivity Vol. II: Scripting the Human, and 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art: The Present in Drag, among others.

The Complete Fear of Kathy Acker
Jack Skelley
Semiotext(e) - 16.00€ -  out of stock

Published in excerpts over almost four decades, Jack Skelley’s “secretly legendary” novel is at once an homage to the thrillingly inventive spirit of Kathy Acker’s cut-up novels and a definitive history of LA’s underground culture of the mid-1980s.

Composed in bursts, Fear of Kathy Acker depicts Los Angeles through the eyes of a self-mocking narrator. Shifting styles and personae as he moves between Venice and Torrance, punk clubs and shopping malls, Disneyland and Dodger Stadium, Jack Skelley pushes the limits of language and identity while pursuing–like Kathy Acker–a quixotic literary mix of discipline and anarchy. In this adrenalized, cosmic and comic chronicle of Los Angeles, Skelley's “real life” friends make cameo appearances alongside pop archetypes from Madonna to Billy Idol.

This first-ever complete edition of the book includes new essays, playlists, and a map of the 1980s Los Angeles in which its manic protagonist lives and loves.

Afterword by Sabrina Tarasoff.

Diego Garcia (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents)
Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -  out of stock

Edinburgh, 2014. Two writer friends, Damaris and Oliver Pablo, escape London, the city that killed his brother. They spend their days trying to get to the library, bickering over their tanking bitcoin, failing to write or resist the sadness. Then they meet Diego, a poet. He tells them he is named for his mother’s island in the Chagos Archipelago, which she and her community were forced to leave by British soldiers in 1973. Damaris and Oliver Pablo become obsessed with this notorious episode and the continuing resistance of the Chagossian people, and want to write in solidarity. But how to share a story that is not theirs to tell? And how to account for a loss not theirs to grieve? A tragicomedy interrogating the powers of literature alongside the crimes of the British government, Diego Garcia is a collaborative fiction that opens up possibilities for the novel and seeks other ways of living together.

Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams are the authors of Genie and Paul and The Echo Chamber, respectively. They used to live in Edinburgh but now live in Brussels, across the park from one another, where they meet up every day for a walk.

Do Everything in the Dark (2023)
Gary Indiana
Semiotext(e) - 17.00€ -

Faced with photos of a once-tumultuous New York art world, the narrator's mind in this scathing, darkly funny novel begins to erupt. Memories jostle for center stage, just as those that they are about always did. These brilliant but broken survivors of the '80s and '90s have now reached the brink of middle age and are facing the challenge of continuing to feel authentic. Luminous with imagery, cackling with bitter humor, and with a new foreword by the author, this roman a cle spares no one.

First published in 2003, Gary Indiana's turn-of-the-millennium novel traces the lives of a loosely connected group of New York artists and the dissolution of their scene.  

During the summer of 2001, the narrator of Do Everything in the Dark, a gallery curator, receives intermittent dispatches from his far-flung friends, many of whom resemble well-known figures in the art and intellectual worlds, who are spread out across the globe, from Istanbul to Provincetown to Santa Fe. Seeking various reprieves from a changed New York, the long-festering, glossed-over incompatibilities of these aging bohemians blossom into exotic and unbearable relief. Beneath the contemporary excesses Indiana chronicles, we can see the outlines of the earlier New York bohemia captured by Dawn Powell.  

Arguably Indiana's most intimate, internal, and compassionate work to date, Do Everything in the Dark is a chilling chronicle of madness and failure, success and disappointment, and the many ways love dies in a world people find increasingly unlivable.

Fassbinder Thousands of Mirrors
Ian Penman
Semiotext(e) - 17.00€ -  out of stock

A kaleidoscopic study of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. 

Melodrama, biography, cold war thriller, drug memoir, essay in fragments, and mystery, Thousands of Mirrors is cult critic Ian Penman's long-awaited first full-length book: a kaleidoscopic study of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Written over a short period "in the spirit" of RWF, who would often get films made in a matter of weeks or months, Thousands of Mirrors presents the filmmaker as Penman's equivalent of what Baudelaire was to Benjamin: an urban poet in the turbulent, seeds-sown, messy era just before everything changed. Beautifully written and extraordinarily compelling, echoing the fragmentary works of Roland Barthes and Emil Cioran, Eduardo Galeano and Alexander Kluge, this story has everything: sex, drugs, art, the city, cinema, and revolution.

Revolt, She Said
Julia Kristeva
Semiotext(e) - 15.00€ -  out of stock

"May '68 in France expressed a fundamental version of freedom: not freedom to succeed, but freedom to revolt. Political revolutions ultimately betray revolt because they cease to question themselves. Revolt, as I understand it—psychic revolt, analytic revolt, artistic revolt—refers to a permanent state of questioning, of transformations, an endless probing of appearances. In this book, Julia Kristeva extends the definition of revolt beyond politics per se. Kristeva sees revolt as a state of permanent questioning and transformation, of change that characterizes psychic life and, in the best cases, art. For her, revolt is not simply about rejection and destruction—it is a necessary process of renewal and regeneration."

The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories
Lynne Tillman
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories gathers together Lynne Tillman's groundbreaking fiction/essays on culture and places, monuments, artworks, iconic TV shows, and received ideas, written in the third person to record the subtle, ironic, and wry observations of the playful but stern "Madame Realism." This new collection also includes the complete stories of Tillman's other persona, the quixotic author Paige Turner (whose investigation of the language of love overshoots any actual experience of it), and additional stories and essays that address figures such as the "Translation Artist" and Cindy Sherman.

Harry Smith: American Magus
Harry Smith
Semiotext(e) - 20.00€ -  out of stock

A privileged look into the life and artistic practice of the experimental filmmaker, music anthologist, and enigmatic polymath Harry Smith.

Best known during his lifetime as an experimental filmmaker and Folkways Records music anthologist, Harry Smith (1923-1991) was a spiritual outsider and one of the most original, influential artists of the mid-century American avant-garde. An avid, inspired collector of old blues and hillbilly recordings during his youth, he became a fan of such bebop jazz as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and began making avant-garde film animations featuring patterns painted directly onto the negatives as visual accompaniments to jazz performances. Smith crossed paths with nearly everyone central to the cultural avant-garde; he lived for art and gnosis with little thought for practical consequences. In 1991, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards in New York.

Five years after Smith's death, the poet Paola Igliori began conducting intimate interviews with the filmmakers, musicians, poets, and artists who knew him best. The result, American Magus Harry Smith, offers a privileged look not only into Smith's life and artistic practice, but also into his era and the informal economy of influence that operated during that time. It provides invaluable insight into the mind of one of the twentieth century's most enigmatic polymaths. This expanded edition includes photos of Smith and many other color images.

Love Me Tender
Constance Debré
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

A novel of lesbian identity and motherhood, and the societal pressures that place them in opposition. 

The daughter of an illustrious French family whose members include a former Prime Minister, a model, and a journalist, Constance Debré abandoned her marriage and legal career in 2015 to write full-time and begin a relationship with a woman. Her transformation from affluent career woman to broke single lesbian was chronicled in her 2018 novel Play boy, praised by Virginie Despentes for its writing that is at once "flippant and consumed by anxiety."  

In Love Me Tender, Debré goes on to further describe the consequences of that life-changing decision. Her husband, Laurent, seeks to permanently separate her from their eight-year old child. Vilified in divorce court by her ex, she loses custody of her son and is allowed to see him only once every two weeks for a supervised hour. Deprived of her child, Debré gives up her two-bedroom apartment and bounces between borrowed apartments, hotel rooms, and a studio the size of a cell. She involves herself in brief affairs with numerous women who vary in age, body type, language, and lifestyle. But the closer she gets to them, the more distant she feels. Apart from cigarettes and sex, her life is completely ascetic: a regime of intense reading and writing, interrupted only by sleep and athletic swimming. She shuns any place where she might observe children, avoiding playgrounds and parks "as if they were cluster bombs ready to explode, riddling her body with pieces of shrapnel."  

Writing graphically about sex, rupture, longing, and despair in the first person, Debré's work is often compared with the punk-era writings of Guillaume Dustan and Herve Guibert, whose work she has championed. As she says of Guibert: "I love him because he says I and he's a pornographer. That seems to be essential when you write. Otherwise you don't say anything." But in Love Me Tender, Debré speaks courageously of love in its many forms, reframing what it means to be a mother beyond conventional expectations.

Indivisible
Fanny Howe
Semiotext(e) - 17.00€ -

The conclusion of a radically philosophical and personal series of Fanny Howe novels animated by questions of race, spirituality, childhood, transience, resistance, and poverty. 

First published by Semiotexte in 2001, Indivisible concludes a radically philosophical and personal series of Fanny Howe novels animated by questions of race, spirituality, childhood, transience, wonder, resistance, and poverty. Depicting the tempestuous multiracial world of artists and activists who lived in working-class Boston during the 1960s, Indivisible begins when its narrator, Henny, locks her husband in a closet so that she might better discuss things with God. On the verge of a religious conversion, Henny attempts to make peace with the dead by telling their stories.

Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, New Edition: Collected Stories
Cookie Mueller
Semiotext(e) - 18.00€ -

The first collected edition of legendary writer, actress, and adventurer Cookie Mueller's stories, featuring the entire contents of her 1990 book Walking through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, alongside more than two dozen others, some previously unpublished. 

Legendary as an underground actress, female adventurer, and East Village raconteur, Cookie Mueller's first calling was to the written word: I started writing when I was six and have never stopped completely, she once confessed. Muellerís 1990 Walking through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, the first volume of the Semiotext(e) Native Agents series, was the largest collection of stories she compiled during her life. But it presented only a slice of Mueller's prolific work as a writer. This new, landmark volume collects all of Mueller's stories: from the original contents of Clear Water, to additional stories discovered by Amy Scholder for the posthumous anthology Ask Dr. Mueller, to selections from Mueller's art and advice columns for Details and the East Village Eye, to still new stories collected and published here for the first time. Olivia Laing's new introduction situates Mueller's writing within the context of her life—and our times.  

Thanks to recent documentaries like Mallory Curley's A Cookie Mueller Encyclopedia and Chloé Griffin's oral biography Edgewise, Mueller's life and work have been discovered by a new generation of readers. Walking through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black: Collected Stories returns essential source material to these readers, the archive of Mueller's writing itself. Mueller's many mise en scènes—the Baltimore of John Waters, post-Stonewall Provincetown, avant-garde Italy, 1980s New York, an America enduring Reagan and AIDS—patches together a singular personal history and a primer for others. As Laing writes in her introduction, Collected Stories amounts to a how-to manual for a life ricocheting joyously off the rails, a live corrective to conformity, conservatism, and cruelty.

The Well-Dressed Wound
Derek McCormack
Semiotext(e) - 14.50€ -  out of stock

A gleeful grotesquerie and savage satire, featuring Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln and the Devil, along with Civil War dead, deconstructed couture, and gay ghosts.

The Well-Dressed Wound is Derek McCormack's play script "séance" a fashion show by the dead for the living. In the depths of the Civil War, in a theater in P. T. Barnum's American Museum on Broadway, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln participate in a staged spiritualistic rite. But the medium conducting them has invited along another being: the Devil, disguised as twentieth-century French fashionista Martin Margiela (aka "King Faggot"). What follows is the most fiendish runway show ever mounted, complete with war dead, deconstructed couture, and gay ghosts infected with all manner of infectious agents, including oozy AIDS.

While his previous fictions have explored the darker corners of country music, high fashion, and camp, The Well-Dressed Wound is McCormack's most radical work yet, occultishly evoking the evil-twin muses of transgressive literature, Kathy Acker and Pierre Guyotat. The creation thus conjured is a gleeful grotesquerie, a savage satire not so much of fashion as of death, a work that, as Bruce Hainley observes in Artforum, puts "the 'pus' back in opus." Here death and life spin on a viral double helix of contamination and couture, blistering and bandages, history and hysteria, semen and seams. "Being dead is so very now," Hainley opines. "This tiny tome (a time bomb, a tomb) is to die for and radically alive."

cart (0)