Chelsea Girls

Chelsea Girls

3.96 (2,036 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this breathtakingly inventive autobiographical novel, Eileen Myles transforms their life into a work of art. Suffused with alcohol, drugs, and sex; evocative in its depictions of the hardscrabble realities of a young queer artist's life; with raw, flickering stories of awkward love, laughter, and discovery, Chelsea Girls is a funny, cool, and intimate account of how one young writer managed to shrug off the imposition of a rigid cultural identity.

Told in Myles's audacious and singular voice made vivid and immediate by their lyrical language, Chelsea Girls weaves together memories of Myles's 1960s Catholic upbringing with an alcoholic father, their volatile adolescence, their unabashed "lesbianity," and their riotous pursuit of survival as a poet in 1970s and 80s New York.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 17mm | 243g
  • Serpent's Tail
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1781257809
  • 9781781257807
  • 35,204

Review quote

Despite having written the book 20 years ago, Myles's literary style feels as contemporary as the essayistic autobiographical fiction of Sheila Heti, Ben Lerner and Tao Lin, who might be considered Myles's literary offspring. * New York Times * [Myles's] very presence in the world is a form of activism, but the work, when studied with care, is also political in the sense that it gives evidence of one of the richest and most conflicted human hearts you're likely to find * New York Review of Books * Unsettled in the best sense: restless, disturbing, changeable... Myles is exemplary for more and more young writers precisely because she has gone her own way. -- Ben Lerner * Paris Review * One of the richest and most conflicted human hearts you're likely to find -- Dan Chiasson * New York Review of Books * Reading Myles is nothing if not a physical experience, the one-two promise of a heartbeat that goes, I'm alive. I'm alive. * Electric Literature * [This book], on all accounts, redefined the queer novel. * Wonderland * Chelsea Girls offers poetry, sex, Catholicism, drugs, class and sexuality. This new reprint of Myles's hard-talking, lyrical autobiographical novel, about a female writer figuring things out in the 1960s, is the missing data for anyone who has read only the male American beat writers. -- Deborah Levy * New Statesman *
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About Eileen Myles

An important and beloved radical icon of American letters, Eileen Myles has been described as 'one of the savviest and most restless intellects in contemporary literature'. They have published twenty books of poetry, art journalism, fiction, plays and libretti, and both they and their poems have recently appeared in the hit US TV series 'Transparent'.

Myles is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in non-fiction, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers' grant, a Foundation for Contemporary Art Grant, four Lambda Book Awards, the Shelley Prize, the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing and was named to the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List in 2015.
Myles lives in Marfa, Texas, and New York. Visit their website at
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Rating details

2,036 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 33% (668)
4 39% (802)
3 21% (431)
2 4% (89)
1 2% (46)
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