Chris Kraus, a filmmaker and theorist, married to a theorist, falls in love with one of her husband’s colleagues at a dinner party. Rather than dismiss her attraction or work her way through or have an affair (which she does anyway) she decides to treat it as an opportunity to explore through dynamic writing, personal journaling, dialogue, and various theoretical and psychological philosophical writing the attraction and it’s meaning. It’s like a modernist novel through the lens of a century of theory. It’s also really interesting, and hilarious.
If you haven’t read this before, the form and tone and style of the book are kind of hard to capture. Even referring to this book as a novel or memoir is complicated. I choose to call it a novel, and that feels like a perfectly suitable but changeable label for me.
So the book begins with an introduction by the poet Eileen Myles who tells us more or less the same things, including the ways in which this book helps to close out the 20th century and begin the 21st century. I am not sure about beginning or closing, but I do think there’s something in the analysis in terms of a form of fiction we are in the midst of (even though it’s a small midst) books by writers like Anne Carson, Maggie Nelson, Ben Lerner, and Karl Ove Knausgard. So in a lot of ways, I think she’s right and this books looks a LOT like how this book looks.
But then again, I don’t think this book covers any more ground (except through theorizing) than Proust did 75 years earlier.