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David Wojnarowicz: Against Time

David Wojnarowicz: Against Time

Review by Eddie Baker

David Wojnarowicz’s recent Whitney retrospective—aptly titled History Keeps Me Awake at Night—bespeaks the lapses and pitfalls that come with digging into the past. Wojnarowicz, catapulting gloriously between the mediums of collage, sculpture, photography, painting, writing, and No Wave music, called into question the cultural mythologies that shape the writing of history. Inhabiting the very periphery of American life, Wojnarowicz operated from the privileged yet precarious position of the outsider. “I have always felt alienated in this country,” he writes in his memoir Close To the Knives, “and thus have lived with the sensation of being an observer of my own life as it occurs.” Living with HIV at a time when widespread misinformation and government neglect forced AIDS patients to the margins of society, Wojnarowicz struggled to voice his personal account of AIDS with volume, urgency, and accuracy. His work demands an uncompromising history of the AIDS crisis. And so it is crucial to ask: How did the Whitney and the exhibition’s framing of Wojnarowicz’s work engage with this history?

João Gilberto Noll’s <br><i>Quiet Creature on the Corner</i> & <i>Atlantic Hotel</i>

João Gilberto Noll’s
Quiet Creature on the Corner & Atlantic Hotel

Reviewed by Christopher Fletcher

I read João Gilberto Noll’s two novels The Quiet Creature on the Corner and Atlantic Hotel in swift succession on a rainy afternoon, a reading punctuated with the heavy sound of the light rail moving alongside. I finished one and immediately started the other, reading until it was time to move on. For weeks after, I rued that marathon reading session as I tried to disentangle the plots in my mind. Atlantic Hotel featured a narrator nearing middle-age trundling from room to room in search of himself. Quiet Creature featured a young narrator being bundled from place to place as he waits to come into his own. Or was it the other way around?

László Krasznahorkai's <br><i>Seiobo There Below</i>

László Krasznahorkai's
Seiobo There Below

Review by Adam Z. Levy

Published in Hungarian in 2008, nearly twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, László Krasznahorkai’sSeiobo There Below depicts a search for the sacred in a sprawling, indifferent, borderless world in its current moment of decay...

Thomas Pynchon's <br><i>Bleeding Edge</i>

Thomas Pynchon's
Bleeding Edge

Review by Jonathan Sudholt

Bleeding Edge is Thomas Pynchon’s 9/11 novel, and he turns his attention to a “post-late capitalist” military-industrial complex that is all grown up...

Javier Marías's <br><i>The Infatuations</i>

Javier Marías's
The Infatuations

Review by Morten Høi Jensen

As a character in Javier Marías's The Infatuations likes to remind us, it is not the plot of a novel that is important—what happens is so easily forgotten—but rather the “possibilities and ideas that the novel’s imaginary plot communicates to us and infuses us with”...

Steven Moore's <br><i>The Novel: An Alternative History, 1600–1800</i>

Steven Moore's
The Novel: An Alternative History, 1600–1800

Review by Jeff Bursey

The cover of Steven Moore's The Novel: An Alternative History, 1600-1800 may entice. It’s of a young woman happily reading a book while lying nude on her bed. No men disturb her bedroom pursuit of pleasure...

Anne Carson's <br><i>Red Doc></i>

Anne Carson's
Red Doc>

Review by Madeleine LaRue

Anne Carson's Red Doc>, though populated by visionaries and prophets, is in part about the undoing of that youthful action, about learning not to see...

Iva Bittová

Iva Bittová

Review by Ian Patterson

Iva Bittová’s eclecticism is evident on her debut as leader for ECM, an intimate solo performance where her voice blends with violin and kalimba in an intoxicating brew that is both ethereal and invigoratingly rootsy...

Mikhail Shishkin’s <br><i>Maidenhair</i>

Mikhail Shishkin’s

Review by Christiane Craig

Beneath the surface chaos of its many narratives, Mikhail Shishkin’s Maidenhair would appear fractal in its logic...


George Szirtes's <br><i>Bad Machine</i>

George Szirtes's
Bad Machine

Review by Bethany W. Pope

How do we distinguish, George Szirtes asks in Bad Machine, between the physical form, which passes away, and the spark—or, according to one poem, smoke—that sets us apart from other animals?