Written in seven weeks during the summer of 2017, Crudo has perfectly captured what it is like to attend parties and apartment search during a time of extreme political upheaval—that is to say, what it is like to be alive at this very moment, when one crisis is quickly followed by another, but lives must go on. Using stream-of-consciousness prose, Laing creates a familiar feeling of whiplash and perfectly captures society's anxiety and simultaneous numbness through her main character Kathy, who is anxious about her upcoming wedding as well as the threat of nuclear war. This is not a comfortable novel; it is feverish, absurd, and compulsively readable. -Emma— From Fall Booknotes 2018
"She had no idea what to do with love, she experienced it as invasion, as the prelude to loss and pain, she really didn't have a clue."
Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It's the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart. Fast-paced and frantic, Crudo unfolds in real time from the full-throttle perspective of a commitment-phobic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker.
From a Tuscan hotel for the superrich to a Brexit-paralyzed United Kingdom, Kathy spends the first summer of her forties adjusting to the idea of a lifelong commitment. But it's not only Kathy who's changing. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead, the planet is heating up, and Trump is tweeting the world ever-closer to nuclear war. How do you make art, let alone a life, when one rogue tweet could end it all?
In Crudo, her first work of fiction, Olivia Laing radically rewires the novel with a fierce, compassionate account of learning to love when the end of the world seems near.