Honestly, I’d never heard of Lynne Tillman before seeing this book prominently displayed a few months ago at all of the hip bookshops I hang out in, depressed.
I have no idea who [the public figure of] Lynne Tillman is still, as – despite numerous gushing blurbs from many people (whose names don’t really have much significance beyond a base recognition for me) telling me that Tillman is a “legend” with an important and longstanding career in American (I presume) literary arts – the publisher of Weird Fucks implies that Tillman is so much of a big deal and a household name that no author bio is deemed necessary.
It’s not that there isn’t an informative bio (e.g. “Lynne Tillman lives on the Upper West Side and has two cats” or something (“scott manley hadley has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and blogs at TriumphOfTheNow.com“)), but that there is nothing at all.
No small description to say anything at all.
If one didn’t glance – as I do, but only because I have nothing else going on in my life – at the legalese/publishing adminny stuff page at the start of the book, one could read this with no idea that it’s not only not a new book but that it’s an ancient book – it was originally published (in a slightly different form, apparently) in 1980, a year so long ago that even I – one of the oldest people in the world – was still the vast majority of a decade away from conception and birth (presuming I appeared on earth in the traditional non-messianic way, which is the current most popular hypothesis).
Weird Fucks, though, isn’t an “old” text in any way that matters.
Weird Fucks doesn’t feel tired or jaded or bored or moribund (like I do boohoo 😭), it’s a vibrant fucking accounting of sex and sexuality in the swinging sixties and swinging seventies of New York City, London, Amsterdam, Athens, Italy and various other places where (one presumes, but it’s never directly said (and the book would be very distasteful were this not the case)) gorgeous fucking people gorgeously, weirdly, boringly (and many other adjectively) fuck and date and date and fuck and travel and cohabit and live, baby, live.
It’s wry and funny without being detached, including a memorable moment when fucking an Englishman who exclaims “That’s some cunt!” which sounds like exactly the kind of thing one could imagine a thoroughbred trying to live wild might say.
It’s global, full of discussion of art and creativity as well as travel and sex, of seeking meaning and rarely being able to find it, but also of seeking fun and it often – but not always (!) being available.
There is some unpleasantness, though, threats of violence and coercion and exploitation, so it’s not a one-note sexual odyssey at all, it’s a nuanced and serious – though riotously funny – account of the unrepressed life half a century ago.
Well worth a go – especially as the book takes well under an hour to read (small pages, big text, big borders, empty pages between the chapters) yet remains a solid and well designed example of the paperback arts. Nice!
Now, to Google Lynne Tillman and find out she’s like a double EGOT with a Nobel, six Pulitzers and ghostwrote all my favourite books or something…
TriumphoftheNow.com is 10 years old! Celebrate by sharing this post – or others – with friends (if you have any), family (if you have any), lovers (which I presume you have because this website isn’t for children), or by donating to the site via the below link so that I can maybe take a day off work some time and enjoy being alive for a few hours.
I LOVE HER! She’s like Cookie Mueller, only alive.
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Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot! I will read more of her work, definitely – I did do the post-post Google and her work sounds super interesting!
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I discovered Lynne Tillman in the best way, that is, totally by accident. “American Genius: A Comedy” glowered at me from the New Books section of my library, and something about it seemed to promise, as none of the other New Books did, something actually new. I remember it was a ferocious satire of Writing Programs, and the sort of writing done in them. You know that feeling when you find a book that seems to be written “for you,” although of course it isn’t? Every other sentence, the reader silently announces , “Oh! I thought I knew this – but I didn’t know THIS.” I’m glad you found her
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Nice! I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of her work soon!