Chris Kraus' new novel
, Summer of Hate
, is out, published by Semiotext(e). Read the first chapter here
. No spoilers inside, but some spoilers in the links.
Kraus' best-known novel, I Love Dick
, about an epistolary love-affair (of sorts) with the cultural critic, Dick Hebdige
, has become something of an underground classic, and Kraus herself has become something of a patron saint (or saint patron) for a number of up-and-coming writers, such as Sheila Heti
and Ben Lerner. I Love Dick
even found its way into an episode of This American Life
. And as one of my enthusiastic friends put it, "Chris Kraus is so fucking good!"
Kraus cut her teeth in the New York punk and art scene in the 80s and married the cultural critic and editor of Semiotext(e)
, Sylvère Lotringer
, who features as a character in a great deal of her work. Her style (about which, Eileen Myles has said that it "turned female abjection inside out and aimed it at a man") is a mix of intensely-personal, autobiographical fiction, documentary text (letters, conversation transcripts...), and art criticism/theory, (possibly) an example of the increasingly-popular genre dubbed (occasionally) "autofiction," that hybrid of autobiography and fiction or fictional voice that makes more-or-less complete the break from the novelist-as-social-judge model of writing.
Unlike some of the recent autofiction by 30-something authors, Kraus' prose is dense and difficult to navigate. As one Goodreads review of I Love Dick
put it, the book includes "loads of names mentioned that I will admit to not knowing," albeit with an effort to bring the world of "high art" out of that realm of untouchability and into the world of the personal lives and destinies of those involved.
Summer of Hate
is a noir of sorts, dealing with control, sex, real estate speculation, and the lead-in to the financial collapse. Keith Gessen, in the advance review (from the back of the book) compares it to "watching a car crash happen in slow motion." The reviews of
(spoilers in both links
) Summer of Hate
are trickling in, and seem to be positive, if unsubstantive. The new issue of Book Forum
has a review by Christine Smallwood (behind a paywall).
Read and watch some interviews with Chris Kraus:
Hedi el Kholti, frieze
Janine Armin, Joyland
Martin Rumsby, Cultural Icons
Giampaolo Bianconi, rhizome
And some reviews of Kraus' other work:
Elizabeth Gumport on Where Art Belongs, N+1
Eli S. Evans on I Love Dick, N+1
(excerpt of full review)
Alex Kitnick on Torpor, The Believer