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Authors: Lidia Yuknavitch

Tags: #Coming of Age, #Fiction

Dora: A Headcase

BOOK: Dora: A Headcase
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Table of Contents
Praise for
Dora: A Headcase
Hold a basketball underwater, take your hand away, and it’ll surface with the powerhouse force of the suppressed. Welcome to Lidia Yuknavitch’s world. In
Dora: A Headcase
, Yuknavitch reimagines the girl, the woman, at the heart of Sigmund Freud’s breakthrough case study and unleashes this character’s fury against a backdrop of hypocritical adulthood. Yuknavitch is talking back to a hundred years, to the founding of psychoanalysis. I’d like to think she wrote parts of this novel just for me, but so many readers will feel that way. Yuknavitch has wrestled with the force of her own convictions and given a powerful voice to a badass character born on the literary landscape.
MONICA DRAKE, author of
Clown Girl
Dora is too much for Sigmund Freud but she’s just right for us – raunchy, sharp, and so funny it hurts.
Geek Love
In these times there’s no reason for a novel to exist unless it’s dangerous, provocative, and not like anything that’s come before.
Dora: A Headcase
is that kind of novel. It’s dirty, sexy, rude, smart, soulful, fresh, and risky. Think of your favorite out-there genius writer; multiply by ten, add a big heart, a poet’s ear, and a bad girl’s courage, and you’ve got Lidia Yuknavitch.
KAREN KARBO, author of
How Georgia Became O’Keeffe
Dora: A Headcase
is first and foremost an irreverent portrait of a smart seventeen-year-old trying to survive. It channels Sigmund Freud and his young patient, Dora, and is both a hilarious critique and an oddly touching homage. With an unerring ear and a very keen eye, Lidia Yuknavitch casts a very special slant of light on our centuries and our lives. Put simply, the book is needed.
CAROLE MASO, author of
The Art Lover
Snappy and fun. I can pretty much guarantee you haven’t met a character quite like Ida before.
BLAKE NELSON, author of
Paranoid Park
, [Lidia Yuknavitch] takes the most classic model of Thera-tainment, personal-crisis-as-content, and she reimagines it wonderfully reversed. The world of Dora is not just possible, it’s inevitable. It’s revenge as the ultimate therapy.
From the introduction by
When about to plummet to our deaths or fly we speak in a language all our own.
Dora: A Headcase
is a feminist retelling of Freud’s famous case study, Dora. But the novel constantly transcends this conceit in beautiful and surprising ways. Sure there’s literary discourse and feminist asides, feats of craft and vision, but in the end Yuknavitch drives narrative the way rednecks drive muscle cars. Right across your lawn without respect to boundaries. If Ida is a little scary to some readers, it’s only because we’ve forgotten that nothing is scarier than a teenage girl. They whisper things we don’t want to hear – that sometimes cutting is an act of freedom, like meditating without sleep, or starving yourself for the parallel bars. Also, that it’s damn hard to do the right thing when you’re in a dangerous conversation with the universe, one meant for god’s ears alone.
Personally as someone whose teen years were hellish, I was floored by the softness and raw sorrow in Ida’s voice, which Yuknavitch braided in with the anger. It felt more real,
more like the girls I knew and was, than any other coming of age narrator. Put simply, Yuknavitch has written the best portrait of teen girlhood I have ever read. I loved this book – it’s like a smart, fast, chick
Fight Club
. In twenty years, I hope to wake up in a world where
Dora: A Headcase
has replaced
Catcher in the Rye
on high school reading lists for the alienated. I’m pretty sure that world would be a better one.
Praise for
The Chronology of Water
Oregon Book Award Finalist 2012
Pacific Northwest Books Associati0n Award Winner 2011
The Oregonian,
Best Books of the Year 2011
Willamette Week,
Top 10 Portland Books Frsom 2011
Portland Mercury,
Best Portland Book Releases of 2011
The Nervous Breakdown,
Best Books of 2011
Art Faccia,
Best Books of 2011
Flooded with light and incandescent beauty, Lidia Yuknavitch’s
The Chronology of Water
cuts through the heart of the reader. These fierce life stories gleam, fiery images passing just beneath the surface of the pages. You will feel rage, fear, release, and joy, and you will not be able to stop reading this deeply brave and human voice.
DIANA ABU-JABER, author of
Origin: A Novel
I love this book and I am thankful that Lidia Yuknavitch has written it for me and for everyone else who has ever had to sometimes kind of work at staying alive. It’s about the body, brain, and soul of a woman who has managed to scratch up through the slime and concrete and crap of life in order to resurrect herself. The kind of book Janis Joplin might have written if she had made it through the fire – raw, tough, pure, more full of love than you thought possible and sometimes even hilarious. This is the book Lidia Yuknavitch was put on the planet to write for us.
REBECCA BROWN, author of
The Gifts of the Body
… All sex scenes were shit, except for the sex written by Lidia Yuknavitch. She read us the first chapter of her novel
Small Backs of Children
(due out with Hawthorne Books) while we all followed along with the copies she’d passed out. They say that alcoholics remember their first drink, that lightening feeling in your body that says yes-yes-let’s-feel-this-way-all-the-time – well, I will always remember the first time I heard Lidia Yuknavitch read.
CHELSEACAIN, author of
Evil at Heart
This intensely powerful memoir touches depths yet unheard of in contemporary writing. I read it at one sitting and wondered for days after about love, time, and truth. Can’t get me any more excited than this.
The Poetry Lesson
From the moment I picked up
The Chronology of Water
I couldn’t put it down, and I thought about it long after I’d finished. Rarely do you find talent like Lidia Yuknavitch’s. Reading this book is like diving into Yuknavitch’s most secret places, where, really, we all want memoir to take us, but it so rarely does. The reader emerges wiser, enlightened, and changed.
KERRY COHEN, author of
Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity
I’ve read Ms. Yuknavitch’s book
The Chronology of Water
, cover to cover, a dozen times. I am still reading it. And I will, most likely, return to it for inspiration and ideas, and out of sheer admiration, for the rest of my life. The book is extraordinary.
The Chronology of Water
’s central metaphor works beautifully: we all keep our heads above water, look around, and enjoy our corporeal life despite all the reasons not to; beyond that, the book is immensely impressive to me on a human level: the narrator/speaker/protagonist/author emerges from a seriously hellish childhood and spooky adolescence into a middle age not of bliss, certainly, but of convincing engagement and satisfaction.
DAVID SHIELDS, author of
Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir
The Chronology of Water
is a brutal beauty bomb and a true love song. Rich with story, alive with emotion, both merciful and utterly merciless, I am forever altered by every stunning page. This is the book I’m going to press into everyone’s hands for years to come. This is the book I’ve been waiting to read all of my life.
This isn’t a memoir “about” addiction, abuse, or love: it’s a triumphantly unrelenting look at a life buoyed by the power of the written word.
I’m also convinced that this bold and highly unconventional book – hot, gritty, unrelenting in its push to dismantle the self and then, somehow, put the self back together again – gets not just under a reader’s skin but seeps all the way into her bloodstream.
Artfully described in prose that’s as spare and beautiful as a diver slicing through the water.
Yuknavitch doesn’t use words just because they sound pretty. Her language, inventive and sparse, is determined to leave its readers spinning in realness, the physical grit of being present as a woman and as a human being.
“Write like a terrorist just busted in and threatened to kill you all – like you have a semi-automatic machine gun at your skull,” acclaimed author Ken Kesey told Lidia Yuknavitch one day during a writing workshop. Luckily for us, she followed his advice, crowding
The Chronology of Water
with intimate confessions of rage and longing. She takes us on a journey through addiction, sexual exploration, and perhaps most intriguing of all, through creation: of literature, of memories, and of life. Her sharp prose – witty, jarring, worthy of dog-earing – alternates between gleeful postmodern exercise and wrenching elegy. So honest and unapologetic is her writing that you can practically hear her sigh in catharsis as you turn the pages.
The Chronology of Water
is powerful and beautifully written – even the tough parts.
Yuknavitch’s nonlinear memoir that is at times lyrical, at times conversational, and almost always intense.
I love how physical the book is, both in its writing and in its point of view. Her body threatened to rise up from every single page I read. It’s war in there. I’m going back in.
Lidia Yuknavitch is a self-proclaimed language bandit. Other writers purposely disturb their readers’ comprehension, because, well, they want to change language as we know it. Yuknavitch’s
The Chronology of Water
plays with language, but it also brings an extra dimension to the wordsmith memoir: it’s a sputteringly good read.
Literary prose that embraces the experience of being a female, in a female body, occupying space in the world – it doesn’t come along too often. But here it is, and it’s worth your attention.
Lidia Yuknavitch’s
The Chronology of Water
might well turn out to be the best book of the year; it’s unlike anything I’ve read before, and I haven’t been able to forget it.
Lidia Yuknavitch’s unsparing memoir
The Chronology of Water
includes tragedy, abuse, oceanic booze consumption, and rated-X sexiness. And Ken Kesey, of course.
BOOK: Dora: A Headcase
9.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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