Afterglow: A Dog Memoir Paperback – 1 Feb 2018
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A ravishingly strange and gorgeous book about a dog that's really about life and everything there is, Eileen Myles's Afterglow is a truly astonishing creation. -- Helen Macdonald, author of H IS FOR HAWK Reading Afterglow is like entering the company of a sensibility that is rich, original, witty, and tonally brilliant. It is the darting asides, the phrasing and the subplots that matter most in this book, that give pure, sheer constant pleasure. -- Colm Toibin Only Eileen Myles could reinvent the memoir again so stunningly; Afterglow is the sort of multidimensional love story you could only expect from one of our greatest experimental writers living today! -- Porochista Khakpour, author of THE LAST ILLUSION Myles is often referred to as an 'institution' - the way one speaks of a terrific restaurant that's endured the waves of gentrification as a 'New York institution.' But the word bounces off her: there is nothing official about her, nothing staid or still. -- Ben Lerner * Paris Review * What is a dog if not god? In Afterglow, Eileen Myles steps up to the challenge for writers to function as prophets. Ghostwritten in part by deceased pit bull Rosie, this 'dog memoir' explores - among other things - geometry, gender, mortality, evil, ageing, and plaids. Myles makes new rules for what prose writing can be. Afterglow is Myles's funniest, profoundest work yet. -- Chris Kraus, author of I LOVE DICK Part of Myles's enduring appeal is that she's experimental in the true sense of the word; every time you turn around, she's up to something different . . . People have started using the word legend when talking about her life and work. * New York Magazine * Myles forces a cultural and a literary reckoning with her life on her own terms, demanding understanding, the text held to the reader's throat. * Los Angeles Review of Books * Wildly inventive and just plain wild, feral, even, Eileen Myles's dazzling Afterglow is about a dog, and her owner, and everything else in life, and also death, too. -- Jami Attenberg, author of ALL GROWN UP Chelsea Girls offers poetry, sex, Catholicism, drugs, class and sexuality. This new reprint... is the missing data for anyone who has read only the male American beat writers. -- Deborah Levy * New Statesman * Everything Eileen Myles touches turns to poetry. Whether called a dog or a cat, it's always poetry. Emily Dickinson famously decided that poetry was anything that made her 'feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off.' I can imagine Emily Dickinson writing an ecstatic blurb for Myles's tender, trippy, deep, yet humanely silly new gift to the world: Afterglow. In this age of fake news and even fake poetry, trust this voice! -- Brad Gooch, author of SMASH CUT
Eileen Myles - 'a big deal, a rock star' (NPR) - has written this intimate account, both real and conjectured, of living with a pit bull named Rosie: Afterglow is an innovative examination of love and loss from 'a kick-ass counter-cultural icon' (New Yorker)See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Myles is most effective when she is writing directly about her beloved pit bull, Rosie, or when she is channeling her pup's voice from the after life. In those moments her writing voice rings true and clear, her insights appear effortlessly, and her honesty is so rewarding. At other moments, for example when Myles has her childhood sock puppet interview Rosie about her abuse by the author, I could respect that Myles was experimenting with narrative in a creative way, even if I did not get much from it. I also flipped my way through a number of wasted pages of conversation that were too confusing to pay much attention to. Who is speaking? What are they talking about? As a reader I felt excluded from whatever experience Myles was trying to offer here & fI wound up feeling quite annoyed by the coyness of it all.
I really reached my limit though with the core of the book, which was consumed by a rambling, over intellectualized spasm of free association that spoke about foam but came across like being hit on the head with a verbal bat. I admit to a certain petty annoyance with writers that I feel stray too far into forms of mental masturbation that seems to wish to punish the reader for not understanding the greatness of the author when the author is obviously making every effort to be unattainable--think Borges, Pound, Nietzsche, et al--but I don't know that Myles was really trying to be obtuse here. I suppose I could see this sagging middle passage as another experiment but there was a rigidness and a righteousness to it that I just resisted and thoroughly disliked.
I can imagine recommending this book to people who already appreciate Ms. Myles style, or to those who are willing to ride along with a writer as they explore different voices & different approaches. If you are coming to this book for a more straight forward and well told story about a girl and her dog though you might very well find yourself disappointed.
Caring for an elderly incontinent dog—the endless cycle of washing and laundering is nearly impossible to keep up with. Myles resisted the notion to put Rosie down, though towards the end of Rosie’s life Myles is naturally suffering tremendously along with Rosie. Myles lovingly cares for Rosie, filming her in an endless loop, she reads her poetry: (from the book)… “”I read for Rosie that night. Read every poem she was in. Not that she needed it. She did not need poetry. She was it, mainstay of my liturgy for 16.5 almost 17 years.”
Myles wrote about her extremely busy professional career and life—the time spent traveling away from home, unhappy lovers/girlfriends over her inability to remain at home for longer times, and teaching at the University of San Diego (2002). The war in Iraq was taking place (2005), the Bush administration was addressing the issues with Abu Ghraib; and readers learned more about Myles upbringing in Ireland.
Rosie had her own distinctive voice in the book, referring to Myles as “Jethro”. A letter from Rosie’s attorney arrived, Rosie appeared in a puppet troupe from the after-life and other occasions throughout the book-- bringing solace and comfort to her master Jethro. It was difficult to ascertain if Rosie was there or if she wasn’t; according to Myles. There was so much silence. We can’t know if Rosie was reincarnated as Myles father--who in Ireland, was a mailman. This could be considered as magical thinking, we feel sympathetic and the depth of sadness that Myles experienced in the loss of her beloved pet. **With thanks to the Seattle Public Library.