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I Love Dick (2006)

I Love Dick (2006)
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4.07 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
1584350342 (ISBN13: 9781584350347)
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English
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semiotext(e)
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I Love Dick (2006)
I Love Dick (2006)

About book: I generally dislike the sort of criticism that short circuits fiction through philosophy, rather than seeing each work of fiction as deploying its own metaphysics or constellation of ideas and engaging with a canon full of complex exchanges, monstrous hyrbidizations, and, sometimes too-scathing, refutations of the same. I see this work as engaging in a similar project as that which preoccupied the early- and mid- twentieth centuries inquiry into pre-theoretical notions (Heidegger's pre-being, Benjamin's pre-history, Derrida's pre-ontology etc).Kraus writes a pre-romance and stands as a sort of liquor store Levinas in interrogating what occurs before any relation. She presents a bride stripped bare, a teeming and complex work full of a variety of different styles that demands like Rilke's archaic torso for you to change your life, change your ideas of what the murky word monogamy means, and change the traditional feminist response to critics (Naipaul) who lecture (on bended knee, practically) women writers to "expand the scope" of what they write. In fact, most fiction (good fiction that is), takes place in a narrow universe. To paraphrase Vonnegut (I think), Ulyssess, Bovary, not to mention Kafka and Woolf take place in a constrained universe and through a move which you really can't help but call philosophical, explode it into a general statement on the human condition. Kraus' obsession creates an incredibly narrow universe that gets real close to how it felt to be a frenetically well-read but completely emotionally immature 17 year old who loved someone more than anything in the whole world; but, does so with a wisdom that only comes through her own breathtaking emotional and intellectual maturity.Cheers Kris, cheers for reminding me that there's a place for people like us (a place I already knew all along and before just called "great fiction")

This is the novel that finishes, crowns, completes the modernist experiment of the 20th century, and should stand as a Futurist avatar for all of the novels to come. I will not curb my enthusiasm. This is my new favorite novel and my new favorite contemporary American novelist. The heartfelt genius of I Love Dick, at which this text arrives through the rigors of theory and formal self-reflection, is overwhelming. The novel displays both the finely crafted modernist ideal and, at the same time, the transgressive punk rock spit in the face of literature for which I have been waiting since 1977--I Love Dick is the beauty of transgression conceived around a coffee table with wine and cigarettes by an exhausted but never ideologically discouraged gathering of artists enacted through the re-enaction of a million previous literary gestures in order to open up vistas of meaning well out of reach of any of the texts that it invokes, makes love to, and then discards in its restless search for a whole new kind of individual authenticity. It is the triumph of hostile literary cannibalism, a love letter to literature sealed with the poison kiss of individuality that in one sweeping breath seizes just about all that a novel has ever done, wraps it up in swaddling clothes and uses it to say what no novel has ever said before.I Love Dick is an open letter to all of us Dick's everywhere and now, having read it, I am left hopelessly in love with Chris Kraus.Do yourself a favor and read this now--I'm sorry that I waited so long to even know of its existence. It's good to be in love no matter what the cost.
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Reviews
Farren
A strange and marvelous multi-genre epistolary from a married woman to a man she meets once and falls utterly, completely in love with. There is something completely fascinating about resurrecting this form but inverting it, so that the woman is the artist, the wielder of language (therefore the maker-of-world), something really compelling about rebirth through humbling the self to unreciprocated desire, something utterly exhilarating about Kraus' interest in directly challenging the (very convenient) notion of art superseding the personal. In I Love Dick, Kraus is very very interested in dissolving the boundaries between "Art" and the "Personal" (and re-situating Self and Book outside of this dialectic) utterly, but in so productive a way that the reader doesn't even have to pass through confessionalism through the inquiry at all. In fact I can't think of much I don't like about this ranging, weird unapologetically ambitious book.
Megan
from I LOVE DICK:S: Chris, I already told you he wouldn’t call. He has a tendency to pull away. We’ve taken the decision for him. Deciding on his thoughts. Remember the introduction that we wrote for him? In a sense Dick isn’t necessary. He has more to say by not saying anything and maybe he’s aware of it. We’ve been treating Dick like a dumb cunt. Why should he like it? By not calling he’s playing right into his role.C: You’re wrong. Dick’s response has nothing to do with character. It’s the situation. This reminds me of something that happened when I was 11 years old. There was this man at the local radio station who’d been very nice to me. He let me talk over the air. Then one day a cloud came over me, I started throwing rocks into the wind shield of his car. It made sense while I was doing it but later I felt crazy and ashamed.S: Do you want to throw a rock through Dick’s Thunderbird?C: I already have. Though mostly I’ve debased myself.
Jimmy
I've never read a novel like this before. A blending of the epistolary novel, feminist manifesto, art criticism, tell-all reality-memoir, critical theory, personal essay, and diary. Somehow it all works together, and I would even say that it is a Great Novel. The first part, which establishes the narrative impetus (Chris, the author, falls in love/crush with an acquaintance (Dick) and, together with her husband, writes love letters to him but doesn't send them). The conceit can only go so far (although conceit is the wrong word here, since I think this is pretty much non-fiction, or maybe slightly edited non-fiction), so after the first part, the rest of the "novel" is a slowly evolving amalgamation. The obsession for Dick continues and changes. Her relationship with her husband changes. Her life and relation to her art changes. Her view of feminism changes. She begins to see everything through the lens of Dick. Dick-lens.It's really hard to describe, but it's super smart, very funny, and sad all at the same time. By the end, the letters get long, and ramble about all types of subjects, but they're written so well that it doesn't matter if it's about an obscure painter or performance artist, it somehow still fits into the book's unique structure. I still flipped the pages maddeningly because I started interpreting everything through the Dick-lens, through what she is discovering about her current situation. It's amazing that she was able to bring these different intellectual subjects so much into the sphere of the personal... where it actually feels like it matters.Bonus: makes for great reading in the men's locker room.
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