One of Yuknavitch’s primary talents is to make the deep, often hidden flaws of our culture — those toxic waste dumps — explosively manifest.
Real To Reel
This third collection of fictions by Lidia Yuknavitch examines significance and meaning through a cinematic lens. With an intelligence that scalds every pretense and surface, her camera pans across subjects as varied as Keanu Reeves and Siberian prison labor. She zooms in on drug addiction, crime, sex of all flavors, trauma, torture, rock and roll, and art, finding untried angles, alien shapes.
Yuknavitch’s fictions trace the inner lives of characters teetering on edges — death, birth, love, understanding — but never flinching at the spectacle of their violent descent. Her prose style is mesmerizing and fluid, deep and dangerous. These are unforgettable fabrications by the writer and verbal cinematographer at her best.
This is not a book for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. The skill of the writer is impressive and there can be no doubt concerning her formidable ability.
Yuknavitch’s third collection continues her exploration, in the grand spirit of Acker and Atwood, of feminist and postfeminist issues … Each story is a gem that could not have been written by anybody but Lidia Yuknavitch; i.e., there is a powerful, singular voice at work.
For anyone looking for a unique and thought-provoking book, or interested in new ways of both writing and viewing the world, this collection could be it.
Yuknavitch’s imaginative stories have a penchant for irony. They delve deep into a materialistic culture that is not just obsessed with itself, but obsessed with its obsessions.
In interconnected and mutually enfolding texts protagonists face off with some deformation of being: psychological, sexual, political, philosophical. Plots play out across the body, as if formed, deformed, reformed by culture. Drugs, violence, and sex inscribe the literal flesh of “figures” standing in for what formerly passed for character. In these fictions a woman is more likely to appear with a needle in her arm than a baby. Sometimes a woman cannot be distinguished from a man at all.
Cutting from subject to object, severing the eye/I from skin, these fictions bring America back to its body. In Liberty’s Excess, capitalism and individualism lose their cover stories, releasing desire all over culture’s deadening hum. Yuknavitch is both master and mistress of this dis-formed beauty, creating a landscape neither Waste Land nor Kansas nor Pomo Glitter.
These fictions are as distinct and different from each other as an apple is from a watermelon is from a kiwi is from a hunk of raw roast beef. Lidia Yuknavitch displays remarkable range with prose style and story form, with idea and image, with scope and emotion, in a seemingly endless array of unique fictions. Yet the agog reader is still undeniably in the frightening, amusing, provoking, enchanting, disquieting realm of one writer.
This book of short fictions challenges readers to remember other times and places when writing was not so deadened by market pressures to “entertain,” to “comfort,” to sprinkle dull happy dust on consumers so they don’t hurt themselves thinking. Yuknavitch takes us down and underneath the symbolic fathers to flesh and guts again.