10 marzo 2011




Por "la famosa escritora norteamericana"

Alissa Nutting. Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls




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'Alissa Nutting’s Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls is a collection of eighteen short stories about women, animals, and objects existing in the underbelly. Perverted and beautiful, these stories deal with the shame of having bodies, and the ways in which we use them to corrupt each other. Characters live in impossible worlds made possible by everyday motion. Porn stars engage in anal sex on the moon; a woman goes to hell and falls in love with the devil; lobsters say goodbye to each other as they boil to death. The stories are boozy, unnerving, and funny. If Mary Gaitskill and Julio Cortázar together birthed a piglet, it could very well be this collection.

'What I find important about Nutting’s work is the abandonment of rules, of any boundaries placed on a text by genre. It isn’t about “magical realism” or “science fiction” so much as it is about bored bodies leaking in the afternoon. There is no need to cheeseball the bizarre when its effect is pure and familiar. Something happens every day but not everyone sees it; Nutting sees this Something and more. Her women are you, your mother, your sister, that same fat which can both soothe and destroy. The way a collection like this defeats categorization is in the refusal of a politic.

'This is not to say that these stories are without statement. Nutting recognizes gender for the fucked game it is, and violation via structure, via holding, is what Nutting intends to untangle, knot by knot. A shaky foundation for bodies to slip through, these stories give way to fantastic chaos in which we lose sense of meaning, moments, memory, and performance. Without boundaries, the body is capable.' --Lorian Long, Bookslut

Alissa Nutting Website
Alissa Nutting interviewed @ Apostrophe Cast
Alissa Nutting on Using Fear to Spur Creativity
Read a story by Alissa Nutting @ Fence
Buy 'Unclean Stories ...' @ Starcherone Press


Alissa Nutting Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Starcherone Press

'Winner of the 6th Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction, chosen by Ben Marcus. In this darkly hilarious debut collection, misfit women and girls in every strata of society are investigated through various ill-fated jobs. One is the main course of dinner, another the porn star contracted to copulate in space for a reality TV show. They become futuristic ant farms, get knocked up by the star high school quarterback and have secret abortions, use parakeets to reverse amputations, make love to garden gnomes, go into air conditioning ducts to confront their mother's ghost, and do so in settings that range from Hell to the local white-supremacist bowling alley.'

'These fine stories, anthropologically thorough in their view of the contemporary person, illuminate how people hide behind their pursuits, concealing what matters most to them while striving, and usually failing, to be loved.'

Excerpt

DANCING RAT

I don’t know if I’m able to have children myself. Because we haven’t been able to conceive, my boyfriend calls our sex “free sex.” I’m not sure if he’s referring to the cost we save on contraceptives, the funds it takes to raise a child, what. If I ask, “What do you mean, free sex?” he says, “You know. No consequences.”

Kyle and I have a lot of free sex. Working on a children’s show, I almost feel bad about how very much sex I have.

Whisker-Bop! is a musical dance program that’s big on counting, manners, and recycling. The primary characters are myself (a mouse), a raccoon, and a bat. Due to their extraordinary length, our whiskers often comically get in the way of our counting/singing/dancing/morality-teaching. My name is Sneezoid because I have bad allergies; why this isn’t a concern I’m not sure. Every episode requires that I atch-hoo in a high-pitched voice and giggle afterwards. This prompts everyone else to giggle. During the interview for the job, I was asked to do little more than showcase my fake sneezing ability. I had a whole speech planned: how much I love kids, my work in an inner-city children’s community theater. It didn’t come up.

I think I took the job as a sadistic decision-making tool: do I want a child, really, and if so do I want one badly enough to leave Kyle if he won’t go along with the process? Kyle is low-key and has expressed no desire to drive a medical plaza and ejaculate in a cup.

But the longer I’m on Whisker-Bop!, the less I seem to worry about whether or not to have a child, because the young “actors” I work with are horrible. My costume includes a set of felt rodent teeth that are on my facial mask around my chin; I often wish these teeth were real so that I could gnaw the golden ponytail off my young costar Missy. She calls me Ratty, though I am obviously a mouse.

Like many lesser mammals, Missy can detect fear. She reminds me a lot of Pearl in The Scarlet Letter, asking questions that insist she already knows more than she should.

“When you have a daughter, you won’t make her do homework when she already has sooooooo many lines to memorize, will you Ratty?”

After our initial meeting (she asked me if I had any children and I said “Not yet”), Missy’s favorite game is asking questions about my hypothetical future child that relate to Missy’s own life.

“I don’t know,” I tell her. She then runs over to her mother yelling about how Ratty said it’s unfair to make her do homework on set, and her stage-tyrant parent shoots me a laser-glare.

I’m haunted by how physically perfect Missy is, her clear skin and her white white teeth. She just landed a detergent commercial, and because I want to punish myself I will not be able to resist switching to that brand. I am a zombie-slave under Missy’s control, I often think. I don’t have a child and I probably will never have a child: I hate this but trying any harder to have one seems like it would make the reality sink in even more. It is far easier to just do the bratty things Missy asks me to do, buy her endorsed products, and act like this agonizing relationship somehow brings me closer to motherhood.

The show’s writers have somehow sensed the obsessive link between Missy and I. At first I was free: a free mouse. But as the episodes progressed and the show got renewed for a second season, it was decided that Missy would adopt me so I would no longer “have to sleep in the cold, cold fields. Brrrrr!” That was Missy’s line, then the two of us had a song and dance number called “I’ve Found My Live-In Friend.”

The other children, two boys who are a bit sweeter than Missy but already vain at age seven, sometimes hear Missy call me Sneezy and try to use it as well. I snap at them, “I’m not one of the seven dwarves.”

“But Missy calls you…” they protest. And I just stare at them vacantly, as if to say, “Don’t you get it? I’m Missy’s grown-up zombie-slave.”

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