Friday, September 28, 2012

Empire of the Senseless, Acker

Empire of the Senseless
Kathy Acker

I tried to read this book by Kathy Acker, Empire of the Senseless. I read to about pg. 75 out of 227 and I just can’t go on anymore. It’s fairly rare that I put down a book, but life is too short not to enjoy the hours you spend reading. Reading is supposed to be fun; even when it’s difficult there should be some element of enjoyment in it. I am not having any of that with this book. This book is FUCKING NUTS. It’s about a half-human/half-robot? And a pirate? I never would have guessed that, actually, but that’s what it says on the back. There are a lot of references to literary theory, lots of rape, and now some pretty intense apocalyptic, suicidal imagery… and I’m done reading. I get it – you’re experimenting and testing the boundaries, fucking with the status quo, the hegemony, the patriarchal norms and whatnot - maybe it just seems so dated and boring because it’s 2012, not 1988. 80’s Gertrude Stein… something better read in a theory course than on your couch alone. Oh, if only I had a theory course…

The reason I decided to try this book in the first place (which I already had because a friend who was downsizing gave it to me) was because another friend recommended it. Not directly, exactly, but we were talking about one of the classes I’m teaching now, called “The Art of Non-Fiction,” in part about the differences between fiction and non-fiction writing. And my friend said, “Oh, you would like Dodie Bellamy then.” And I said, “Who’s she?” And my friend said something about “New-Narrative,” a blending of fiction and non-fiction, and she said, “Kathy Acker is the same movement, kind of,” and I thought “I have that one at home,” and that is why I started reading. But I’m stopping. I’m stopping now. It’s much too much for one girl alone.

I’m pretty sure the friend who gave me this book, as well as the one who recommended it, must have read it for a class because surely, no one is reading this for fun. I would try it again, but I would need the help of a brilliant professor and, alas, I am not that professor myself. One of the many, many times I wish I was still a student in college, instead of the teacher…  

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