In this breathtakingly inventive autobiographical novel, Eileen Myles transforms life into a work of art. Told in her audacious voice, made vivid and immediate in her lyrical language, Chelsea Girls cobbles together memories of Myles's 1960s Catholic upbringing with an alcoholic father, her volatile adolescence, her unabashed "lesbianity," and her riotous pursuit of survival as a poet in 1970s New York.
Suffused with alcohol, drugs, and sex; evocative in its depictions of the hardscrabble realities of a young artist's life; and poignant with stories of love, humor, and discovery, Chelsea Girls is a funny, cool, and intimate account of a writer's education, and a modern chronicle of how a young female writer shrugged off the chains of a rigid cultural identity meant to define her.
©1994 Eileen Myles (P)2016 Tantor
NYC poets in the 1970-90s took too many drugs, smoked too many cigarettes, and enjoyed too much sex. In this novel, Eileen Myles overshares all the details. By the end of the book, I wanted to meet her.
I adore her accent and matter-of-face delivery. Myles reads really shocking things with a flattened affect. (Some of her disclosures would have been better left unwritten, but there is no unwringing the bell.)
The chapters were not laid out chronologically. There were childhood chapters that followed adulthood chapters. That makes me want to listen to the entire book again in order to appreciate the early parts now that I have context. Did Myles intend this effect?
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