Nick Petrie Series

Kathy Acker Books In Order

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Publication Order of Portrait of an Eye Books

The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula (1973)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
I Dreamt I Was a Nymphomaniac (1974)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Adult Life of Toulouse Lautrec (1978)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

New York City in 1979 (1981)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hello, I'm Erica Jong (1982)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Great Expectations (1982)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blood and Guts in High School (1984)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Algeria (1984)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Don Quixote (1986)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Literal Madness (1987)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Empire of the Senseless (1988)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In Memoriam to Identity (1990)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Kathy Goes To Haiti (1990)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
My Mother (1993)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pussycat Fever (1995)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pussy, King of the Pirates (1996)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Eurydice in the Underworld (1998)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective and the Burning Bombing of America (2002)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Young Lust (1989)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Hannibal Lecter, My Father (1991)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bodies of Work: Essays (1996)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Kathy Acker: Unpublished early writings (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

I'm Very into You: Correspondence 1995-1996 (With: ) (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

Art After Modernism(1984)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wordplays Five(1986)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
High Risk(1991)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Storming the Reality Studio(1991)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fiction International 22(1992)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Avant-Pop: Fiction for a Daydream Nation(1993)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mammoth Book of Erotica(1994)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Artist in Society(1995)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dust(1996)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rapid Eye(1996)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Spectacular Optical(1998)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Review Of Contemporary Fiction(1999)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Good Parts(2000)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Artspace Is/Artspace Was(2001)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Essential Acker: The Selected Writings(2002)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Frozen Tears II(2004)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Penguin Book of Erotic Stories By Women(2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lost & Found(2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Woman's Right to Pleasure(2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

About Kathy Acker

An experimental American novelist, the late Kathy Acker was a true visionary during her time, writing a great deal of work that was both profound and insightful. Pushing literature and prose to its furthest limits, she took the form into exciting and and fresh new arenas, making new discoveries all the time. This innovative approach to writing would see her become one of the most highly regarded authors within her field during her time. Setting new standards, many still attempt to replicate what she achieved to this day, trying to reach the heights that she did.

Whether it was essays, screenplays, poetry, or novels, her work was always within a league of its own, both in terms of foresight and inventiveness. Always with something different to and unique to say, she would often speak on subjects pertaining to feminist thought and women’s rights. She would also speak out about topics such as childhood trauma, French critical theory, and pornography, just to name a few. Her work would always seek out new avenues to explore, with her postmodernist perspective allowing her to share even deeper insights and analysis.

Her books would interweave fact and fiction, often using the meta-fictional narrative as the basis for her writing in many cases. Taking readers on a journey of numerous different concepts and ideas, she would never hold back, always remaining true to herself. With her own unique voice and approach, her style would become almost a trademark in of itself, with her writing being almost immediately recognizable to her. As more and more discover her work and writing every day, she continues to inspire many around the world, as her legacy lives on.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 1947 on the 18th of April, Karen Lehman was born and raised in New York City to Claire and Donald Lehman. Many obituaries would cite her birthday as 1944, while the Library of Congress would claim it to be 1948, and her family would come from a wealthy German-Jewish background. Her father would leave before she was born, as she would be brought up by her mother an only child for some time, before her mother would marry Albert Alexander.

Attending Birch Wathen Lenox School, Acker would later graduate from the Upper East Side private school for girls. She would then go on to study at Brandeis University, studying classics there, before marrying Robert Acker in 1966 and taking his surname. Passing away in 1997 on the 30th of November, she would pass away from cancer in an alternative cancer clinic in Tijuana.

Writing Career

Publishing her first book, ‘Politics,’ in 1972, Kathy Acker would become synonymous with the New York punk movement during the late 1970s and early eighties. Often using the cut-up technique of influential writers such as William Burroughs, her work would utilize forms of pastiche. Writing numerous essays and poems, her prose would be heavily influenced by the punk aesthetic style of the era.

Many of her books would be comprised of essays and poetry, while other titles would offer novels, and pastiches of other famous titles, such as ‘Great Expectations.’ Producing musical collaborations with other artists, along with stage-plays and scripts, she would prove herself to be a hugely versatile writer. Winning awards her transgressive prose has gone on to earn her a reputation and legacy that continues to be lauded to this day.

Blood and Guts in High School

First published in 1984 on the 11th of January, this would become one of Acker’s best known and most popular novels. Written during the late 1970s, it would later be copyrighted in 1978, before finally reaching publication six years later. Brought out through the ‘Grove Press’ publishing label, it’s a non-linear piece of meta-fiction, providing an intimate and unique portrait of an individual.

Living in Merida, Mexico, ten-year-old Janey Smith has an abusive relationship with her father, as she’s heads off to America. With another woman entering her father’s life, she leaves to embark on a journey that will spiral out in a whole variety of different directions. Dealing with human trafficking and prostitution, she meets everyone from hippies in a bakery she works at, to a Persian slave-trader. Noting all her thoughts down, the narrative weaves around, encompassing her life, dealing with gangs and slums, as Janey faces it all.

It’s subject matter doesn’t make it an easy read, but it’s definitely a worthwhile one, with it bringing to light a number of important issues. The strength of the writing makes a real impact upon the reader, giving the book a real sense of depth and greater understanding. Capturing the era it was written within well, it’s no wonder this book has gone on to become one of Acker’s most popular to date.

Great Expectations

Released through the ‘Grove Press’ publishing house once again, this would come out in 1983, and it would also make a name for Acker. Using the cut-up technique, she creates a collage of work to really deliver something quite different and idiosyncratic in its outlook. It would also set the template for a lot of what was to come, as Acker would go on to write numerous other similar projects.

Taking the classic Dickens story of ‘Great Expectations,’ this reworks it into something fresh, new, and original. Providing a somewhat autobiographical title, it manages to encompass a whole range of different ideas and concepts within it. Going on a journey through time, identity, and gender, it reinterprets and examines society’s values, and its own opinions on art and life. As a feminist critique it takes real historical figures placing them alongside texts from other writers, and psychological analysis, all to make the whole.

The book is a cryptic box of mysteries waiting to be unpacked, with plenty of intriguing twists and ideas throughout. Whether Acker’s using her own words or someone else’s, she never holds back from making her message heard loud and clear. It really is a novel to be experienced and, while being fairly short in length, is no less compelling as a piece of literature and art.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Kathy Acker

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