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I d been curious about Kathy Acker I knew of her work by reputation only placement in the indie queer section in the late 90s at Powells Bookstore in Portland, Ore.If you were gay, bi, pierced, curious, protoemo, a mopey pomo or overselfmedicated on Prozac and taking a lot of long drives to Powells in the rain you, too, no doubt saw the Ackerthologies I want to note that I recently learned through a review that Acker once did an interview with Alasdair Gray author of the delightful Poor Thi I d been curious about Kathy Acker I knew of her work by reputation only placement in the indie queer section in the late 90s at Powells Bookstore in Portland, Ore.If you were gay, bi, pierced, curious, protoemo, a mopey pomo or overselfmedicated on Prozac and taking a lot of long drives to Powells in the rain you, too, no doubt saw the Ackerthologies I want to note that I recently learned through a review that Acker once did an interview with Alasdair Gray author of the delightful Poor Things that the reader found interesting and insightful , and trusting that reader reviewer s instincts she s got a good scorecard when it comes to literature a true advance scout I picked this up And it was the most heroic thing I ever did (((Free Epub))) ⇖ Literal Madness: Three Novels ⇛ My Death My Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini imagines the Italian filmmaker and writer returning to the Roman homosexual hustlers he knew, in a scathing commentary on false values in art The Hartford Courant I m not offering a star rating here I read this at university, years ago and at the time enjoyed it very much as a piece of ludic post modernist anti fiction Of course, nowadays I like to settle down with a Len Deighton, Jeffrey Archer or Jonathan Franzen novel, take a good single malt snifter, and lower myself into the temperate waters of resigned realism But Cathy Acker had a lot of spunk, a lot of kick Maybe I should read it again Literal Madness really deserves three separate reviews, one for each of the two short novels and one short story that are often published together, since they vary widely in subject matter and writing style As it happens, the three are almost always published as a collection of the novels Kathy Goes to Haiti and My Death My Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini and the short story Florida, so a useful review should also combine them.Kathy Goes to Haiti uses a narrative of the protagonist s trip to Hait Literal Madness really deserves three separate reviews, one for each of the two short novels and one short story that are often published together, since they vary widely in subject matter and writing style As it happens, the three are almost always published as a collection of the novels Kathy Goes to Haiti and My Death My Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini and the short story Florida, so a useful review should also combine them.Kathy Goes to Haiti uses a narrative of the protagonist s trip to Haiti and the people that she meets there as a constrained example of broader categories of human relationships, both interpersonal and political It does this very well, and without sacrificing the protagonist s Kathy s humanity by turning her into some sort of straw man a humanity which is reinforced by several stream of consciousness interludes that give the author the chance to add her own voice to the fictional character that bears her name This book, alone, would probably merit a five star review It reminded me to a certain extent of The Sun Also Rises in terms of its overall structure and purpose, although it is much better written and its central character issympathetic and easier to identify with In contrast, My Death My Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini reminded me of nothing so much as that time in high school when you re given a writing assignment and, because you ve already gotten into college and are long past caring, you just get high and write whatever ridiculous nonsense wanders into your head, only to get the damn thing back a week later with A VERY Theatre of the Absurd scrawled in the margin in red pen, leaving you to wonder if you shouldn t have been trying all along This may describe the exact process by which this book was written and published Ostensibly, this book is about Pasolini, an influential Italian filmmaker who was murdered under odd circumstances in 1975, solving his own murder with the aid of various fictional characters drawn from other works, who are each given their own modern voice, Kathy Acker style, in a series of otherwise unrelated and entirely separate chapters It conjures up the vision of Pasolini going door to door in Hell trying to find the killer and finding a different bizarre, dysfunctional scene behind each one like it s an episode of The Goon Show The author uses each chapter to explore a different and invariably experimental narrative style, including writing it as a play, as near meaningless stream of consciousness poetry, as straight prose and, in one case, middle school franglais In the end, the whole thing doesn t work Individually, some of the writing is very clever, and Acker is often successful at exploring some of the unstated power and gender relationships among, for example, Shakespeare characters with her typical incisive language, but her enthusiasm for trying new ways to express characters that were otherwise fixed parts of the cultural canon comes at the price of clarity, meaning and linear thought progression The postmodern consensus, which the author obviously supports, is that these things don t matter it turns out that, after a certain point, they do Florida, is by far the shortest of the three novels that make up Literal Madness, and is better described as a short story Based on the now obscure 1948 Humphrey Bogart Lauren Bacall film Key Largo and running to only about a dozen pages, it leaves one with the impression that Bogart and Bacall would have made amemorable movie if Kathy Acker had been old enough to write and direct it In Florida, she is doing essentially the same thing that she did in each chapter of My Death My Life exploring the unstated but highly meaningful power and gender relationships between already established characters but in this case she seems to have finally found the right voice to do it in.In short, this book is worth buying for Kathy Goes to Haiti alone, and Florida is also impressive, but the reader shouldn t take My Death My Life too seriously Three novels by Kathy Acker In Kathy Goes to Haiti, the protagonist, a white girl named Kathy, goes to Haiti There, she finds many males suggesting themselves as possible boyfriends or husbands They tell her it s because women are not supposed to be independent in Haiti Kathy starts seeing one of the men, and much of the novel is about their relationship While Kathy is in Haiti, she learns about its economy and culture In a number of ways, the novel reflects what Fredric Jameson characteri Three novels by Kathy Acker In Kathy Goes to Haiti, the protagonist, a white girl named Kathy, goes to Haiti There, she finds many males suggesting themselves as possible boyfriends or husbands They tell her it s because women are not supposed to be independent in Haiti Kathy starts seeing one of the men, and much of the novel is about their relationship While Kathy is in Haiti, she learns about its economy and culture In a number of ways, the novel reflects what Fredric Jameson characterized as a waning of affect in postmodern cultural work For instance, the novel does not employ the conventional plot structure in which there is a rise in tension, a crisis, a climax and a denouement There is little character development, and little change in the situation in Haiti The narrator describes different locations, but these descriptions do not emphasize the picturesque in some instances the descriptions are simply repetitive The narrator describes Kathy s sexual experiences, but in a way as to de eroticize them Moreover, the narrator employs simple sentence structures of the sort one might find in books written for children who are learning to read If there is any kind of conventional psychological tension in this novel, it is probably most evident in the dialogues between characters A conversation between Kathy and some boys that goes around in circles is particularly good.In My Life My Death by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Acker represents the Italian filmmaker Pasolini attempting to solve his own murder Acker experiments with language, for instance using puns, wordplay and juxtapositions that sometimes read like surrealist poetry She switches between narrative and dramatic modes She plagiarizes writers like James Joyce and Robbe Grillet, and writes new dialogue for characters like Hamlet, Ophelia, Romeo, Juliet, Catherine and Heathcliff the speeches of the latter characters are in French These experiments, as well as passages making reference to Hiroshima, the Irish troubles, and Nicaragua, contribute to the novel s theme of the relations between power and language While Pasolini narrates some of the novel, another narrator narrates other passages in many instances it is difficult to determine who is narrating Many of the events in the novel are fantastically violent.According to the blurb on the back cover, Florida is a re telling of the film Key Largo I can t comment because I have not seen the film Acker s narrative is fragmented into descriptions of events and unattributed dialogue Kathy Goes to HaitiThis narrative is accessible to most readers, although many will find its graphic sexual imagery shocking The novel tells the story of a young woman s travels to Haiti, and does include gripping descriptions of the country s sights and sounds However the focus is on Kathy s sexual relationship with Roger, a wealthy and influential son of a plantation owner and it is impossible not to wonder why Acker s true genius is that she never explains this choice It is up to the read Kathy Goes to HaitiThis narrative is accessible to most readers, although many will find its graphic sexual imagery shocking The novel tells the story of a young woman s travels to Haiti, and does include gripping descriptions of the country s sights and sounds However the focus is on Kathy s sexual relationship with Roger, a wealthy and influential son of a plantation owner and it is impossible not to wonder why Acker s true genius is that she never explains this choice It is up to the reader to figure out whether the protagonist s enjoyment of sex is pro feminist, or whether she is subject to the whim s of men and attaches herself to Roger for survival Reading this now, I see that Acker was ahead of her time, and master of the monodrone self absorbed female chatter which gives the impression that is it self affirming, but is in fact just noise in the air and means nothing My Death My Life by Pier Paolo PasoliniThis novel is a little muddled and feels very experimental The Shakespearean inspired mini plays are feeler with acerbic wit and vary in quality The take on Macbeth is overtly political, and will appeal to those who feel that the English oppression of Ireland coherently explains all human complexities therein My personal favorite if from Romeo and Juliet It reads likes a raucous Saturday Night Live sketch, yet tells of a truth that may be too frightening for to some to confront Supposedly this novel is a scathing commentary on false values in art but that puts Acker s Shakespearean skits in a difficult place Pretentious satire to rebuke pretentiousness Acker s work can be read at face value an experimental attempt to place those marginalized by society into a literary framework Inevitably chaos, sometimes jarring, sometimes lyrical erupts.FloridaShort Kathy Goes to Haiti a.k.a the only story I read in this trilogy, reminded me of a grainy, poorly lit 70s porn movie where there was no pretense of good acting or a comprehensive plot line, merely a short and laughably bad dialogue between two people who happened to be scantily clad around each other and mutually lonely Which is not to say it wasn t interesting to read, but sort of a strange, meandering plot line that involved a single woman s travels through Haiti She makes it apparent from Kathy Goes to Haiti a.k.a the only story I read in this trilogy, reminded me of a grainy, poorly lit 70s porn movie where there was no pretense of good acting or a comprehensive plot line, merely a short and laughably bad dialogue between two people who happened to be scantily clad around each other and mutually lonely Which is not to say it wasn t interesting to read, but sort of a strange, meandering plot line that involved a single woman s travels through Haiti She makes it apparent from the beginning that she s there to get laid and laid she gets Unfortunately, the fact that she s traveling alone is some sort of signal to all the men and boys on the island that she s single and ready to mingle, and they swarm her day and night, eager for a piece of the action Along the way, she falls in love with the son of a wealthy business owner who also happens to moonlight as a drug dealer P.S He s also married.I personally love it when authors are not afraid to flesh out their female characters with qualities that are either unacceptable to be open about or seen as deviant in some way Kathy, although conflicted with guilty feelings about her acceptance of sexual humiliation as being pleasurable, is comfortable seeking out the company of men that make her happy without the expectation of having a relationship The problem here was that I tried to read all three in one go Kathy Goes to Haiti was fine as it sconventional and I enjoyed the story despite the fact it was rambly and didn t seem to have a point I like things that are rambly and don t seem to have a point Couldn t get through My Death My Life though There were good bits in there but, try as I might, experimental feminist literature just doesn t seem to be for me Also there s a bit where one of the characters says We only speak The problem here was that I tried to read all three in one go Kathy Goes to Haiti was fine as it sconventional and I enjoyed the story despite the fact it was rambly and didn t seem to have a point I like things that are rambly and don t seem to have a point Couldn t get through My Death My Life though There were good bits in there but, try as I might, experimental feminist literature just doesn t seem to be for me Also there s a bit where one of the characters says We only speak French now and then the next six pages of the book are in French While this was hilarious, it also obviously was frustrating I picked this book up in the Yaddo library because I liked the title I had never heard of Kathy Acker so had no idea what to expect Wow So now I know I only read the first novel in this collection, Kathy Goes to Haiti Apparently this is queer punk post punk feminist literature Anyway, whatever it is, I kind of loved it You can t go wrong with lines like Kathy s cunt is silent, ready, nothing Will definitely be checking outof her stuff in the future. This book gave me a migraine Acker s writing s way too sloppy and incoherent.