Aug 22nd 2017

I Love Dick: The novel and the Amazon series in brief

by Mary L. Tabor

Mary L. Tabor worked most of her life so that one day she would be able to write full-time. She quit her corporate job when she was 50, put on a backpack and hiking boots to trudge across campus with folks more than half her age. She’s the author of the novel Who by Fire, the memoir (Re)Making Love: a sex after sixty story and the collection of connected short stories The Woman Who Never Cooked. She’s a born and bred liberal who writes lyric essays on the arts for one of the most conservative papers in the country and she hosts a show interviewing authors on Rare Bird Radio. In the picture Mary L.Tabor

Have to begin by saying that I was turned on to the book from Jill Soloway's fantastic first episodes of the show on Amazon with the marvelous actors Kevin Bacon as Dick, Kathryn Hahn as Chris and Griffin Dunne as her real-life-then husband and scholar Sylvère Lotinger. Having now read the novel, I don't see how Soloway can create another fabulous season (but one can hope), and she is a brilliant screenplay writer and director as the show Transparent amply proved. I'm glad Amazon took a chance on her again with this show based super loosely on Kraus's novel.

Chris Kraus

Pretty much the novel is a bare-hearted exploration of what it is to be a female artist and pretty much unheard. The novel, admittedly and wonderfully open about its autobiographical roots, is filled with literary allusions and brief discussions/essays on art and literature in abundance. Here’s just one example to give you a sense of Kraus’s reading depth and wry humor: “Who was it, Marx or Wittgenstein, who said that ‘every question, problem, contains the seeds of its own answer or solution through negation’”?*

The exuberant forward by poet Eileen Myles and the equally admiring afterword by Joan Hawkins are also well-worth the read.

Dick who is apparently based on the real Dick Hebdige is never humanized in the novel.

The reverse for Dick, played by Kevin Bacon, is totally the case in Soloway's brilliant move away from the novel--with this exception: Solloway’s shared view of the female artist's problems in a male dominated world, warmly revealed and with fewer literary allusions and a bunch more characters: Toby, a love of a transgender activist and artist, the ephemeral Devon, who gives a performance-art exhibition that you have to see to believe and many other simply thrilling illustrations of the problem. You gotta watch the first season and hope for a second to see what I mean. So I’ll leave you to the show. See it.

The novel is a fascinating read for its own bravery and I read it fast and furiously.

But I have to say, I love Jill Soloway's humanizing series: More moving, totally addictive and I love Kevin Bacon's restrained and sensitive performance. Kathryn Hahn is just a delight and so is Dunne, it turns out!

But here's a hear, hear for Kraus!


My brief review of the novel is based on the Kindle edition I Love Dick by Chris Kraus: SEMIOTEXT(E) NATIVE AGENTS SERIES Copyright © 1998, 2006 Chris Kraus

 

*Kraus, Chris. I Love Dick (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) (Kindle Location 1839).

 


This article is brought to you by the author who owns the copyright to the text.

Should you want to support the author’s creative work you can use the PayPal “Donate” button below.

Your donation is a transaction between you and the author. The proceeds go directly to the author’s PayPal account in full less PayPal’s commission.

Facts & Arts neither receives information about you, nor of your donation, nor does Facts & Arts receive a commission.

Facts & Arts does not pay the author, nor takes paid by the author, for the posting of the author's material on Facts & Arts. Facts & Arts finances its operations by selling advertising space.

 

 

Browse articles by author

More Literary Essays

May 31st 2018
Postcolonial scholarship has overwhelmingly focused on the legacy of Western empires – but despite a long history of foreign expansionism and domination, Russia, in its various incarnations, has never received the same amount of critical scrutiny. The Tsarist empire’s position outside the West proper, the Soviet Union’s stated opposition to imperialism, and the fact that Russia’s empire was a contiguous land empire rather than an overseas one all helped shield it from postcolonial critique. The result is a strange oversight – especially considering the fact that the heir to the largest continental empire in modern history clearly remains uncomfortable with the independence of many of its former subordinates.
May 24th 2018

At the age of 50, Henry James created a detailed portrait of an experimental novelist in old age, in his story “The Middle Years.” Terminally ill, the novelist Dencombe receives in the mail the published version of what he realizes will be his final work, a novel titled The Middle Years.

Apr 26th 2018
I would like to share a love story – framed by two solitary moments (separated by fourteen years, two months, three days, and sixteen hours) before the same telephone in the same hotel room in Boston, Massachusetts. But, to begin with, let me go back to the first meeting I had with the young woman. I met Julie in a museum, in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house, in Concord, Massachusetts, on May 22, 2003, a few minutes after 10:30 AM – just three days before the bicentennial of Mr. Emerson’s birth, and three days after my own thirty-third birthday. But I hope no one will think that I believe I can parallel Mr. Emerson on any greater terms than that small coincidence.
Apr 25th 2018
Ever since I first began listening to popular music on a transistor radio, I have been fascinated by one-hit wonders. Today, oldies stations can devote entire weekends to singers and groups who had one hit and were never heard from again, including such classics as the Penguins’ “Earth Angel,” the Teddy Bears’ “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” and the Murmaids’ “Popsicles and Icicles.” When I began studying creativity, I discovered that one-hit wonders were not unique to pop. Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial are celebrated instances in which the name of an artist instantly calls to mind a single work, and vice versa....
Apr 3rd 2018

Serious readers like to see a review or two about big, complicated novels before deciding whether to devote their life to them.  The thousand-page Russian classics all seem to carry this warning flag. 

Feb 23rd 2018
For two years I was president of a member group of the Road Runners Club of America. I enjoyed my service, but I did not seek a second term.
Sep 23rd 2017

PRINCETON – This summer, at literary festivals and bookstores around the world, readers celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the debut of the first book in J.K.

Jun 9th 2017

As a pianist, I have spent a lifetime reading interviews with other pianists. But I would know, above all, what it is precisely that others think about when they play. People often ask me that question.

Feb 6th 2017

During all of my adult life as an author and pianist, Ralph Waldo Emerson has been for me the supreme and unremitting guide to the Western canon.

Feb 1st 2017

Rarely does a musician with a Juilliard background and a Ph.D. in piano performance find the energy, much less the time, to conceive, plot, write and publish a series of well-constructed novels.

Jan 24th 2017

The Wall Street Journal has made an egregious error. I'm not talking about their coverage of Donald Trump, Russian hacking, or any other such ephemera. This concerns something much more serious: classic literature.

Jan 7th 2017

A Talmudic question has much intrigued me: Two men are stranded in the desert. Only one has water. If he shares it, they both die; if he keeps it, he lives and his companion dies. What should he do? Rabbi Akiva taught that the man has the right to drink it.

Oct 14th 2016

To the surprise of many, Bob Dylan has become the first singer-songwriter to win the Nobel prize in literature.

Sep 13th 2016

It is 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl – considered by many to be the world’s number one storyteller. His books have received enthusiastic responses from millions of children all around the world.

Mar 5th 2016

Language pedants who take pleasure in policing other people’s use of grammar often have an air of respectability about them, but it’s usually a sheen hiding something more pernici

Oct 23rd 2015
NEW YORK – It was 1985, and change was in the air in the Soviet Union. Aging general secretaries were dropping like flies.