Patricia Lockwood c/d

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feels awkward to stan a semi-phenomenon, but she puts words together so well. and then they combine logarithmically.

on updike (and foster wallace):

on ferrante:

the rape joke:

second only to dril on twitter

new book/first novel this month

mookieproof, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 03:51 (three years ago) link

"Malfunctioning Sex Robot" is such a great piece. That's the kind of long-form, accessible, non-academic criticism I dream of being able to write, and it's just an amazing balancing act all the way through: she manages to be hilarious at Updike's expense in a way that's not mean-spirited and gives you genuine insight into his work.

I haven't read the Ferrante one; thanks for the link! Another reason to procrastinate on prepping for class tomorrow.

Lily Dale, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 04:58 (three years ago) link

I believe that she's been quite extensively discussed on this thread.

Taking Sides: the TLS v. the LRB

the pinefox, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 10:52 (three years ago) link

thanks for this, not read her before. Just noticed the Napoleon Dynamite reference in the Updike essay so that's sealed the deal for me

kinder, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 12:41 (three years ago) link

It is right and just that this thread focus mostly on her LRB and literary work but I do feel the need to say that the Miette jail for mother tweet is all time and frequently namechecked in my household when one of our cats is accidentally lightly touched.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 15:37 (three years ago) link

jail for mother for 1000 years classic forever

her first book of poetry is one of the most brilliant things i've ever read

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 23 February 2021 16:04 (three years ago) link

i am less spellbound by the lrb essays but the updike one is extremely fun

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Tuesday, 23 February 2021 16:04 (three years ago) link

Daniel otm this is pure literature

me, lightly touching miette with the side of my foot: miette move out of the way please so I don’t trip on you

miette, her eyes enormous: you KICK miette? you kick her body like the football? oh! oh! jail for mother! jail for mother for One Thousand Years!!!!

— Patricia Lockwood (@TriciaLockwood) March 19, 2019

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 16:24 (three years ago) link

That's remarkably poor given the praise it had just been given.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 21:11 (three years ago) link

you're remarkably poor, go away please

lord of the ting tings (map), Tuesday, 23 February 2021 21:12 (three years ago) link

maybe we needed another patricia lockwood thread, off ilb, so the pinefox wouldn't sink it up with unreadably pedantic opinions

lord of the ting tings (map), Tuesday, 23 February 2021 21:14 (three years ago) link

I dig the tweet, but I am a cat person so...

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 23 February 2021 22:09 (three years ago) link

Hillary Clinton is co-writing a political thriller novel

— Forbes (@Forbes) February 23, 2021

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 23 February 2021 23:32 (three years ago) link

Classic. My favourite chronicler of the Extremely Online Condition. I don’t normally laugh out loud while reading, but Priestdaddy made me do it several times. Her novel isn’t out until May here, but it’ll be a day 1 buy and read for sure.

triggercut, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 02:50 (three years ago) link

I finished it last night, I thought the first half was very funny and entertaining, incredibly written, relatable (it me), but strangely ephemeral, as soon as I put it down I could barely remember anything about it - maybe because there's no narrative, it's just a series of fragments. It's not exactly shallow, it has the same glib profundity as a good Onion headline. It's worthwhile, not life changing. The second half though, wow. Yes there's a family tragedy, she logs off, she tries to transcend what's gone before, and succeeds with honours. I cried twice (the tears of a parent so ymmv), the second time at the end of the acknowledgements would you believe it.

ledge, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 09:13 (three years ago) link

Just finished this five minutes ago, and agree with every word of ledge's.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 24 February 2021 11:43 (three years ago) link

How does it compare to Priestdaddy?

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 24 February 2021 22:46 (three years ago) link

Meaning should I get around to finishing that one or just jump right to this one?/pvmic

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 24 February 2021 23:09 (three years ago) link

She also has a few books of poetry

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 24 February 2021 23:13 (three years ago) link


The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 24 February 2021 23:29 (three years ago) link

Okay, found the relevant passage in Priestdaddy that explains the, um, premise.

Here is how it works: when a married minister of another faith converts to Catholicism, he can apply to Rome for a dispensation to become a married Catholic priest. He is allowed, yes, to keep his wife. He is even allowed to keep his children, no matter how bad they might be. The Vatican must review his case and declare the man fit for duty. (My father’s paperwork was approved by Joseph Ratzinger, later to take the name Pope Benedict XVI, later to resign the papacy and become an enigma in fine elfin shoes wandering through private gardens, his eyes among the bushes like unblinking black roses.) Once he has received this approval, the man can enter training for the priesthood and be ordained, but only after every member of his immediate family passes the Psychopath Test.

Lockwood, Patricia. Priestdaddy (p. 12). Penguin Publishing Group.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 25 February 2021 00:07 (three years ago) link

new one is fantastic imo.

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 25 February 2021 02:12 (three years ago) link

It is basically a sequel to Priestdaddy, very lightly fictionalised, and in the third person

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Thursday, 25 February 2021 10:35 (three years ago) link

That's technically true but seems somewhat misleading? It's very much its own thing in terms of style and content and definitely can be read on its own. I'd prob recommend it over Priestdaddy unless you're a huge fan of memoirs.

ledge, Thursday, 25 February 2021 12:04 (three years ago) link

It is, but all the characters of her family are in it, with just a few tiny changes.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Thursday, 25 February 2021 12:35 (three years ago) link

new novel is nanette

dogs, Tuesday, 2 March 2021 20:07 (three years ago) link

damn that was good stuff.

map ca. 1890 (map), Friday, 5 March 2021 00:59 (three years ago) link

made me hate babies slightly less and twitter slightly more

map ca. 1890 (map), Friday, 5 March 2021 01:00 (three years ago) link

it's the way she renders The Portal as this terrible place where we all feel driven to go to get our Maslovian pyramid needs met that's the genius of the first half -- anybody terminally online (raises hand) can't help but see themselves there, and then see a better possibility of themselves in the second half

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Friday, 5 March 2021 02:05 (three years ago) link

yes it's complex and ambitious, taking a shot at answering the hardest questions, while at the same time being very funny and fizzy. i couldn't put it down tbh. a lot of standout moments but i was surprisingly moved by the thom yorke description. like i expected to cringe since there is so, so much bad writing about radiohead but it was really excellent and summed up the appeal of the band in two paragraphs better than anything i've seen.

i have some disconnected thoughts at this point. she is very good at inhabiting men, i think she really gets them, pins them down and somehow still loves them. of course the book is overflowing with love. it's also taking a stab at what it means to be american in now-ish times. surprisingly old-fashioned while still being very current.

map ca. 1890 (map), Friday, 5 March 2021 15:50 (three years ago) link

honestly it might be a little too .. mainstream? .. to really feed my unicorn soul but her writing is just so delicious it's hard to deny.

map ca. 1890 (map), Friday, 5 March 2021 15:58 (three years ago) link

The Ferrante piece is getting into "overpleased with itself" zones for me, but the Updike one is fantastic

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 6 March 2021 14:31 (three years ago) link

Also agree with ledge.

It's cool how the "it me" quality very quickly goes from being funny/relatable/flattering (I think like Patricia Lockwood? Patricia Lockwood thinks like me?) to being scary, as you realize that the reason it's all so relatable is that we are all responding in much the same predictable ways to precisely the same stimuli, and that there's something intensely creepy, and directly traceable to the addictive quality of the internet, about our minds having this much overlap.

Lily Dale, Sunday, 7 March 2021 02:49 (three years ago) link

Okay, took out both the ebook and the audiobook from the library.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 10 March 2021 14:48 (three years ago) link

I've been thinking more about this book, because I actually liked the first half better than the second half, and I've been trying to figure out why. I like the idea of it - the first half disconnected, fragmented, internet-influenced, suffused with a kind of vague, fuzzed-out pain that never quite breaks through the narcotic effect of the Portal, and then the second half looking straight at a very specific, very human, very painful real-world experience. I found the acknowledgements very moving, and there are moments when the second half really works for me, when it taps into a kind of transcendent humanism that I associate with some of my favorite writers from a century or so ago. The nail tech painting her nails "with infinite gentleness" before the funeral makes me think of Kipling; her realization that every suburban house could be hiding its own private glory reminds me intensely of Capek. These moments are gorgeous. But for a lot of it I felt - I don't know - distanced, maybe? It felt weird, I guess, to still not really know any of the characters, to have this shift in subject matter without a corresponding shift in style. It felt like she was describing an experience that was deeply meaningful to her, and I could appreciate that it was meaningful, but I also felt like I was being held at a remove from this private family grief. This isn't necessarily a knock on the book - I'm not saying she should have written it differently - but it was how I experienced it.

Lily Dale, Sunday, 14 March 2021 17:23 (three years ago) link

My reading of it was...somewhat similar to yours.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 14 March 2021 20:48 (three years ago) link

Really? tell me more!

Lily Dale, Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:04 (three years ago) link

Let me see. I really liked the second part - it was the emotional payoff, there wouldn't be a book with out it - but the first part, which initially seemed kind of inconsequential was something that only she could right or so it seems. Listening to the audiobook helped me let it sink in a little better, I think.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 14 March 2021 21:47 (three years ago) link

She's a fan of Lucia Berlin, which makes sense.

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 17 March 2021 00:06 (three years ago) link

just started Priestdaddy and got the new one reserved.

kinder, Sunday, 21 March 2021 13:22 (three years ago) link

she could right

The Ballad of Mel Cooley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 21 March 2021 13:55 (three years ago) link

I actually put off reading this or learning anything about it because i felt so keenly the possibility of being disappointed by it; I didn't think the memoir was very good, and that was after liking both of the poetry collections and er her general persona / Online Presence, also the criticism, though maybe that came after the book?

Anyway, god, this is a fucking remarkable book

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Monday, 22 March 2021 06:57 (three years ago) link

all through the first half i was amazed that someone had gotten the thing right; the second half i was amazed that it didn't collapse, that it maintained a clinical distance. I'd been worried it would turn mawkish or invoncincing or rote, but no, it does not; it brings home a lot of what's been set up in the first part in ways i would not have thought possible, surviving the big shift into I-hate-this-word 'autofiction' (pace claims upthread, the 'she' of part one is fairly clearly Not Patricia Lockwood Exactly while the 'she' of part two is Pretty Much Patricia Lockwood).

it nibbles at the feet of age-old bromides about the role of art in ways that feel real and specific and but also i was really worried that someone would ask why i was crying in the coffee shop and i would have to explain I was reading a novel about memes

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Monday, 22 March 2021 07:16 (three years ago) link

ten months pass...

I find Lockwood fascinating. She somehow manages to dance between critique of the 'extremely online' world she represents (and I think it's the closest thing to representing it ontologically I've come across) while making it seem, I don't know, that it's something I might desire and might be missing out on. Sure, there's self-loathing but there's also a fizzing ecstasy.

I've heard her say somewhere that she doesn't experience having a body in the way she feels she ought - that it feels alien and discomfiting - but she does enjoy being a mind, and the internet is the perfect (non)place for her to enjoy the slide of being. It was like a light coming on - not only an 'oh, I see' but an 'I have elements of this, why has it taken me so long to acknowledge it/be seen?'

I started the book and felt immediately at home: the voice, the episodic, fragmented nature of the narrative, the humour. I enjoyed the voice enough that I could have read a book twice as long. The feat of the book is to carry that voice across into the second half; not to lose any of the lightness, the humour but to incorporate the enormity of a real-world event and render it with the same quality of lightness and confusion. It's like a form of forgiveness in that regard, even something like a map for how to navigate the ridiculous present. It felt like a disembodied voice saying 'it'll be OK even when you know it won't. It's a comfort all the same.

I cried like a, well, like an overgrown baby.I don't know if I think it's 'great' yet, or any of that stuff, but I can think of a half-a-dozen people I need to press it on, urgently, which will do for me as an endorsement.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 6 February 2022 11:30 (two years ago) link

Might help if I mentioned that was about 'No One is Talking About This'.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 6 February 2022 11:32 (two years ago) link


Tapioca Tumbril (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 February 2022 15:18 (two years ago) link

I still need to finish Priestdaddy.

Tapioca Tumbril (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 February 2022 15:22 (two years ago) link

thomp & chinaski have nailed the effect of this novel for me & make me want to go back & actually have some time with it as I took it in 2 big gulps first time (part 1 one night, part 2 the next, then straight back to the library) and this was before I experienced something similar to the events of pt 2

Just pulling off “novel about Twitter” is enough of a challenge that I feel like Lockwood gets props just for a respectable effort but I’d go further & say it’s one of the few works that get to what it feels like to be in the current era (the main one being twin peaks s3 obv)

chang.eng partition (wins), Sunday, 6 February 2022 15:58 (two years ago) link

i read this simultaneously enjoying the online insight and humor and thinking 'i wish the internet did this for me' and kind of marveling at how it apparently does for someone else. i think i liked how it all merges with the birth of the child, and i was very impressed by it but strangely not moved.

i was reading her big piece on knausgaard in the lrb, got about halfway through and because i'm not familiar with knausgaard so was having some trouble following it. it seemed to me like maybe they're similar in some deadly ways but that's just an impression.

Nedlene Grendel as Basenji Holmo (map), Sunday, 6 February 2022 17:36 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

I just finished Priestdaddy. Thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself laughing frequently and frequently pulling the book away from my eyes at yet another fantastic metaphor or madly overripe description.

There's a remarkable passage where she's describing her perception of the world and her perception of language. It's like an origin story and one of the best passages I've ever read about the creative process. It also makes me idly wonder if, at some level, all art is a function of our neurology and nervous systems.

"Is it ADD?" she asks me. "Your father gave you all ADD, you know." Sensing that this is not entirely fair, she adds graciously, "And then I gave you ADD as well." "Maybe," I say, laughing again. It was true I always had trouble listening and remembering, trouble hearing people when they explained simple facts to me. When I read, my head seemed to go diagonal, and I swore I saw things in the sentences- not what I was supposed to see. When I read the words "moonlit swim," I saw the moonlight slicked all over the bare skin. The word "sunshine" had a washed look, with the sweep of a rag in the middle of it. The word "violinist" was a fig cut in half. "String quartet" was a cat's cradle held between two hands. "Penniless" was an empty copper outline and "prettiness" seemed to glitter. "Calamity" was alarm bells, and in "aristocrat" there was the sharp triangle of a cravat, and in "sea serpent" one loop of the green muscle. It was as if I could read the surfaces of words, and their real hearts, but not their information. Even "word" had a picture-I saw a blond hostess in a spangled dress turning black and white letters over one by one. When I read, the meaning swam and the images leaped out and the words gave up their doubles. When I wrote, the same thing happened with the paper.

"You start by thinking sideways," I tell her. "First you sit in a sunlit room, and you look at the wall but really look through it, and your book but really read past it." you read

"Sounds like a recipe for insanity," she interrupts, tipping back her head and pouring a barrage of chocolate-covered blueberries down her throat, all the while holding the wheel with one wrist.

"Then pretend you're washing your hair with warm water, and unfocus your vision like you're trying to see a Magic Eye and loosen up your hearing like you're trying to understand Donald Duck".

Cocking my ear to her, I don't honestly hear that many other writers. Fitzgerald in her noun phrases (I think often of his description of a telephone's 'shrill metallic urgency'; that cadence is apparent in many of her close descriptions), Lorrie Moore somehow, Ashbery perhaps. What do others think about that? I'll be happy to be proved wrong but fwiw, I don't know that she'll ever be a classical novelist as such. I think her primary skill is noticing - that, coupled with her own particular facility with language, is where the alchemy takes place and she may find if she exhausts her autobiography she doesn't have anything to write about. That said, I bet her journals are extraordinary.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Saturday, 16 April 2022 13:26 (two years ago) link

Some of that quote is mangled! Hopefully, you get the idea.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Saturday, 16 April 2022 13:27 (two years ago) link

Still need to read that/pvmic

Ramones Leave the Capitol (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 16 April 2022 13:34 (two years ago) link

all real good writers are huge word perverts

lag∞n, Saturday, 16 April 2022 14:28 (two years ago) link

recall don delillo saying he liked to compose sentences based on their shape

lag∞n, Saturday, 16 April 2022 14:28 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

‘Can I ask you something?’ I asked the members of my Updike Support Group one by one. ‘Do you remember Rabbit Redux? Like, at all?’ What I really meant was: ‘Am I insane?’ Had I alone been entrusted with the burden of this book’s contents? Had we forgotten, as a society, that the 1971 sequel to Rabbit, Run contains a scene of Rabbit reading The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass out loud while a black man rapes a hippy girl who, earlier, spent several pages speaking entirely in rhyme? Don’t worry: she likes it, and then dies in a fire at the end.

mookieproof, Saturday, 9 March 2024 03:05 (four months ago) link

I've never read more than fifty consecutive words written by John Updike for some reason. Hmmm. Now that I think about it, the reason I've never read more than fifty consecutive words is that each time I reached that threshold I put the book back on the shelf, knowing this was the wisest choice.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 15 March 2024 03:32 (three months ago) link

Might be worth trying his essays. His writing is about plot about as much as Vermeer's painting is.

paisley got boring (Eazy), Friday, 15 March 2024 04:07 (three months ago) link

her recent one about meeting the pope was possibly her best ever in my opinion, though the updike is hard to top.

plax (ico), Friday, 15 March 2024 09:49 (three months ago) link

i like the ashbery comparison upthread though it would not have directly occurred to me it definitely makes a lot of sense in a very internet way

plax (ico), Friday, 15 March 2024 09:53 (three months ago) link

Just started Priestdaddy yesterday, great stuff

Bonus: cover illustration by Lisa Hanawalt!

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 15 March 2024 10:10 (three months ago) link

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