A collection of short personal and cultural essays, including journal-like entries, film critiques, and even an elegy, by novelist and critic Tillman (Motion Sickness, 1991; Cast in Doubt, 1992; etc.), combining a handful of new pieces with those drawn from her writings for such publications as Art in America and the Voice Literary Supplement.
In her title (does it contain a feminist pun?) and in her concerns, Tillman signals a visual approach to contemporary culture and aesthetics. From her dream-sketch of her father, decribed as "a lost and found object," to her review of a film on Caravaggio, to her observation that flashing seems to have gone out of fashion, to a section of photo stills from the Big Board at Times Square, to thoughts on violence, racism, and writing, Tillman draws attention to the forces she is fighting, or imagines that she is fighting. She says that she distrusts words and stories, yet admits the paradox that they are probably what she values most. In one of the best pieces she explores her difficulty in learning how to discuss race and writing. Her constant search for an original angle is refreshing and constructive, permitting Tillman to contribute to our turbulent current cultural dialogue. "Criminal Love" explores the dark side of passion, as it moves effortlessly from the personal to the societal in the O.J. Simpson trial. Simpson appears again in "Telling Tales," as Tillman approaches the Bronco chase as a narrative of reversal of fortune and journey, the odyssey. In other pieces she analyzes her own fiction, describes her work on a book on the early years of Warhol and the Factory, and issues a challenge to writers to serve readers by transcending cultural limitations in their work.
Tillman combines a light, frankly personal touch with an informed aesthetic, reflecting a hip, New York art world perspective.