Contemporaneous Extension

The Canoodling of Fiction and Art (Lecture)
September 13, 2013, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I first discovered Rachel Kushner when I read a review of a review of her recent novel, The Flamethrowers, in Salon earlier this summer. She was defending said novel against Adam Kirsch’s implication in Tablet Magazine that she had done a good job of writing a “macho” book as a woman, a claim that is both absurd and offensive. Her response, succinctly slaying his assumption that writing books was a glamourous, calculated process, was a solid kick in the balls that I support wholeheartedly. The excerpt from her Facebook page, featured in the Salon article, states:

The review gives example of my “macho” writing, which to me does not seem macho. it just seems like my writing. there are various things going on here, one of which may be the idea that women are supposed to write “like women,” and Kirsch is holding me up as outside of that, in hopes of finding out why critics have liked my book, despite its being, haha, by a woman. And secondly, a sense of the writer as self-consciously “cool.” But, Adam Kirsch, with all due respect, there is nothing “cool” about writing novels. It takes years and years of solitary work and deep and quiet and very uncool thinking to do it. You have to use the part of you that is unconscious, submerged, most unknown to the writer herself. It is not a calculated act, to produce an effect. Writers cannot work in such a mode. At least I cannot. The “cool” you register: could this be your own projection? I write the novels that are possible for me to write, not that ones I think will come across in a certain light. thank you. have a great day, everyone.



Kushner is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow (along with stellar individuals Kim Abeles, Charles Gaines, Bruce Gilden, Bill Hayes, Nora Krug, Deana Lawson, Ben Lerner, Sylvia Nasar, Christian Patterson, and Alec Soth, to name a few) and is giving a lecture at CUNY on September 23, 2013, at 6:30 pm on the inclination to integrate photographs and illustration into fiction. As an art history buff and human being who has certainly lived, I look forward to hearing her remarks and observations.



Further reading:

Art & Photography — a curated series of images and insights into Kushner’s creative process for The Flamethrowers (via The Paris Review)

An excerpt from The Flamethrowers (via NPR books)




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