At aufgabe, Brian Whitener reviews Danielle Dutton’s Attempts at a Life.

A fascinating debut, one that signals a writer whose work is worth following….

The book is comprised of 17 short pieces – concentrated, disarming novelettes – that frequently take classic literary works and/or their language as a starting or jumping off point….

It’s neither Acker or Barthelme, rather these pieces inhabit their sources, and, in opening them up, chart a narrative territory triangulated between New Narrative, prose poetry, and the postmodern novel….

The manner in which the pieces take up their examination of subjectivity that is the most fantastic part of this book. That is to say, this book is not an exploration of identity but rather of subjectivity, which can be seen in its emphasis on sex instead of on gender. Moreover, it concerns potentiality, not possibility; these are not cartographies of possible worlds, rather they depict beings of anarchic lushness, subjectivities that overflow with complications (which, absurdly, brings the writing close to Flarf and its exploration of similar territory)….

Dutton does not subsume difference, she multiplies it, turning it weird, wonderful.

Read the full review.

See also: Attempts at a Life and all posts tagged Danielle Dutton.