Book Review:I Love Dick by Chris Kraus
So I don’t really think it’s reasonable to think about I Love Dick as a typical memoir or novel. It’s, like, some kind of experimental art project? Maybe a paper documentary? I’m being all question-marky because it’s unlike other books I’ve read. It hits lots of clear chords of femaleness and obsession and feminism and failure– and lots of distorted chords of art-life, maybe love, and some other stuff– but the structure of it all is somewhat other-worldly. There’s second person narration that’s simple to follow– but the real brunt of the book is delivered through letters (written in the first person by Kraus (or her very similar narrator!?)), and then more letters– but kind of in a memoir-ish form– that are about artists and theorists and writers (it gets very deep into stuff that I don’t know a bunch about). Also, there’s the foreword and the afterword, which are both pretty important to read…
Though officially classified as fiction, I Love Dick is about real people and (I assume) real events. I figured this out late. About halfway though the book I figured that maybe I should Google the names of some of the characters just-cuz– and sure enough they were actual known people with their own wikipedia entries and stuff. Knowing this made Kraus’s project a little more omg.
It took me maybe a week to read I love Dick— and with the pace I’ve been reading at lately, it felt like years. The well-worn library tome would be sitting right next to my lazy body, and I would get up and walk across the room to get some magazine I didn’t care about instead. Not that I Love Dick sucks. It’s fucking rich with thought and research and experience. There are tons of literary allusions that I didn’t get (It reminded me of trying to read Kathy Acker’s books that I’ve been stockpiling because I know they’re important– but that I find obscure and hard to understand all the references in). I was particularly drawn to the part on Hannah Wilke and female/feminist artists– Kraus makes some good points about how sexist stuff can be.
Find a copy HERE