Chelsea Girls

Chelsea Girls

by Eileen Myles
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A groundbreaking and candid novel-in-real-time, considered a cult classic, from one of America's most celebrated poets

In this breathtakingly inventive autobiographical novel, Eileen Myles transforms her life into a work of art. Told in her audacious and singular voice made vivid and immediate in her lyrical language, Chelsea Girls cobbles together

…  See more details below

Overview

A groundbreaking and candid novel-in-real-time, considered a cult classic, from one of America's most celebrated poets

In this breathtakingly inventive autobiographical novel, Eileen Myles transforms her life into a work of art. Told in her audacious and singular voice made vivid and immediate in her lyrical language, Chelsea Girls cobbles together memories of Myles's 1960s Catholic upbringing with an alcoholic father, her volatile adolescence, her unabashed "lesbianity," and her riotous pursuit of survival as a poet in 1970s New York.

Suffused with alcohol, drugs, and sex; evocative in its depictions of the hardscrabble realities of a young artist's life; with raw, flickering stories of awkward love, humor, and discovery, Chelsea Girls is a funny, cool, and intimate account of a writer's education, and a modern tale of how one young female writer managed to shrug off the chains of the rigid cultural identity meant to define her.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New York writer Myles's ( Not Me ) autobiographical adventures recount her volatile '60s adolescence littered with vibrant memories of an alcoholic father and her awakening as a writer in the '70s. Myles revisits her risk-filled past because she wants desperately to be understood: ``It's lonely to be alive and never know the whole story. . .I would like to tell everything once, just my part, because this is my life, not yours.'' She views becoming a poet as a ``cultural accident'' and depicts her calling as she knows and loves it--a life filled with drink, drugs, sex, love, loneliness and poverty. Although her tales are highly personal, they are nonetheless rather indifferently told: Myles feels nothing because she doesn't know what to feel and consequently wanders through her life as though she were curious tourist. She erects walls between herself and her emotions that also leave the reader feeling cut off. But Myles is nothing if not honest, and her accounts of her life are so harsh that they stick with the reader as closely as they stick with her. (July)
Library Journal
This series of 28 autobiographical tales reflects the various stages of the author's life. The early stories depict the pain and poignancy of a young girl's adolescence in the 1960s. Growing up in a Catholic family in Boston, the narrator witnesses the death of her alcoholic father. The later stories take place in New York during the 1970s as the narrator struggles to write poetry and assert her sexuality. Some readers will find this collection off-putting. The writing is often stream-of-consciousness, sometimes with grating grammatical mistakes. Because the tales skip back and forth in time, not much continuity is established. In addition, graphic lesbian sex and a focus on alcohol and drugs pervade most of the stories. For large fiction collections or gay literature collections only.-Stephanie Furtsch, Purchase Free Lib., N.Y.
The New York Times - Dwight Garner
Chelsea Girls, which tracks [Myles] from a Roman Catholic upbringing near Boston in the 1950s and '60s through the discovery of drugs, girls, poetry, poverty and George Plimpton's book parties in Manhattan, seems funnier and more honest and raw now than it did in 1994. It transmits its meanings along what she calls, at one point, "a glowing cord of drunkenness and sex." The book has a yearning quality and a sweetness that prevent it from being a mere time capsule or Henry Miller-like debauch.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780876859322
Publisher:
Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
06/01/1994
Pages:
276
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.93(h) x 0.84(d)

Meet the Author

Eileen Myles has published twenty books of poetry, art journalism, and fiction and libretti. She's a Guggenheim Fellow, has received the Shelley Prize from the Poetry Society of America and a Lambda Award for lesbian fiction, and was named to the Whiting/Slate Second Novel List. She also received an arts writers grant from Creative Capital/ the Warhol Foundation and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant. She lives in Marfa, Texas, and New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >