Wednesday, 8 May 2019


#amreading Olivia Lain, Crudo.



Perhaps a biography of postmodern enfant terrible Kathy Acker, perhaps just a critical review of society’s ills, definitely a shake-up of the traditional novel format!


Maybe biography (and history in general) should be the domain proper of a novel. Memory, like the protagonists of many novels, are unreliable after all.

This was the problem with history, it was too easy to provide the furnishings but forget the attitudes, the way you became a different person according to what knowledge was available, what experiences were fresh and what had not yet arisen in a personal or global frame. Aids, specifically… What insights might we have now? It was uncomputable, it was the province of the novel, that hopeless apparatus of guesswork and supposition.


Does weather affect your  memory?  

It’s August but it feels like autumn, slanting light, a smell of rot and ripeness. It’s pleasant but makes her feel bad, like a lot of old news is churning under the surface, returning unexpectedly. Memory showers desire, desire infects memory.




Do other people in the room affect your memory?

He hated shouting, he hated l sudden noises, a dropped fork would make him flinch, if he broke a glass he felt bad all day.  He wasn’t fragile exactly, he was just transparent, transparently hurt of scared, closing up around himself like a starfish, a sea anemone.He was hunched at his chair, his head poking forward like a turtle. You’re filling the house with your nervousness, Kathy told him. You’re making a complex architecture of anxiety and fear…it was one of those days where her skin and hair felt coated in a thin layer of grease, when nothing hung right. 


Or do you just want your memories gilded?
They had that multilingual good manners veneer that only comes with money.
Maybe possessions were like beauty, they made you impermeable. Kathy loathed permeability, she wanted to be gilded, I mean everyone did.