Cover image for The activist
The activist
Gladman, Renee.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Krupskaya, [2003]

Physical Description:
145 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:

Rear cover blurbs by Juliana Spahr and Tisa Bryant.

Cover art by Matthew Nichols.
Tour -- Top of the hour -- The interrogation -- The bridge -- The state -- Radicals plan -- Tour -- Never again anywhere -- White city -- White city II.
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
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Item Holds
PS3557.L2916 A38 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Fiction. African American Studies. Straddling fiction and poetry, Renee Gladman's writing operates on the level of the sentence, constructing suprise and oblique meanings at every turn, and somehow managing the supremely difficult trick of both engaging and pushing the reader. "THE ACTIVIST begins in the middle of a revolution....There is a bridge that may or may not have been bombed. People speak in nonsense and cannot stop themselves. In the mids of all this, the language of news reports mixes with the language of confession. The art of this beautifully written book is in how it touchingly illustrates that relations between humans and cities are linked in a more complex interface than most realize"--Juliana Spahr.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Following up on her 2000 debut Juice (Kelsey Street), Gladman here pushes West Coast "new narrative" further into Kafka- and Poindexter-esque territory. A form of elliptical prose taken up in the '90s by writers like Dodie Bellamy, Mary Burger, Laura Moriarty and Camille Roy (and adapted by Gladman's peers Pamela Lu and Lytle Shaw), new narrative allows the basic elements of novels (plot, character, dialogue, specificity of setting) to run through the text without being sketched all the way in. By turns noirish first-person memoir and journalistic satire, The Activist depicts the goings on of a cell or affinity group that may or may not have blown up a bridge that may or may not have existed. Descriptions are inflected such that the names of characters (Lomarlo, Monique), their relations to each other (often same sex) and the way they talk ("This our downtown"; the title itself may be in the plural) put pressure on categories of race, gender and sexual orientation. The group may also have developed technology for emptying the memories of subjects, and controlling them Matrix-style, and their prevarications have a Godardian intellectualized haplessness. Yet the memory technology sets up the most powerful of the book's 10 sections, "The State," where it is unclear if the first-person narrator is being held by the government or by the activists, for what reason and to what purpose. The book works best as one of the first full-length mirrors held to the post 9/11 U.S.; in its targeting and rhetoric; it is something less than allegorical, more than a little chilling, and often very beautiful. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved