An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family.
Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, is an intimate portrayal of the complexities and joys of (queer) family making.
Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.
©2015 Maggie Nelson (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
A friend close to the author told me numerous times to read this book. Because I was in school, because I had no time to read, because I was busy raising hell, I put it off. After getting a punishing job that has left me no time for reading I decided to take his advice and buy the audiobook for my long LA commutes. I finally understood the parallels he saw and the radical voice of Maggie I feel is a commonality. I should have read the book but I would have missed out on the author's soothing voice. I would have missed the slight intonation she gave to certain subjects or the correct pronunciation of the names of theorists I had never known how to properly pronounce. This is a beautiful, meditative and at times painfully personal story. What a gift that Harry and Maggie allowed the world in. The ideas, the stories and her voice will stay with me for a very long time. Well done.
If I could go back, I would definitely rather read the print version than listen to the audiobook. Maggie Nelson has a very eloquent and intelligent way of speaking/writing, and so I feel I would've better understood her story and what she was trying to say if I were able to visually re-read and analyze certain passages. She used a handful of words that I was not familiar with when listening to this while driving for lengthy periods of time, and so I was unable to look up the definitions of those particular words in the moment. Another issue with listening to this book instead of reading it is that Nelson uses a lot of quotations from other writers, theorists, and philosophers and this sometimes makes the performance a little choppy because of the author having to verbally say "quote... unquote" around every quotation.
I loved the mixture of styles. Nelson masterfully intertwined memoir story telling with intellectual/academic discussions of gender, sexuality, and relationship. This is definitely not your average story or novel, it is very unique and so it really stands above and beyond any other book for me.
I have not, but I think her narration of this novel was fantastic. I imagine some may think she had a lack of animation to her voice, but I loved her straight forward way of reading. For me it made the humour of certain passages really stand out, as well as letting the words speak for themselves.
The Argonauts: Falling forever, falling to pieces
Although I loved this book, I do wish it would have been divided into a couple more chapters. I also wish the audiobook would have verbally indicated when chapters were beginning
A treasure- scholarship woven thru the most intimate and exquisitely written details of lives lived deeply, honestly. Love and curiosity guide the trajectory of each inquiry. This book is a rich expression of liberation.
Had some interesting ideas but she quoted/paraphrased something too much, it felt like she was trying to make it longer. Made it feel really unoriginal
Maggie Nelson's writing is contextually rich, insightful, and replete with nuanced ideas, yet somehow manages to stay this side of pretension. I was so touched by this work.
While Maggie Nelson was not my favorite narrator, the writing was captivating. The author offers such a mesmerizing take on all aspects of love and being human. I learned so much from such a short book.
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