This is Not it

This is Not it

3.87 (64 ratings by Goodreads)
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In "This Is Not It, " Lynne Tillman's collection of 20 years' worth of important and compelling short stories and novellas, the protagonists seduce you into their lives and thoughts. Engaging, funny, elegant and ironic, Tillman takes the reader to new heights of wit and meaning through staccato phrases, grammatical twists and sensuous language. Familiar worlds of honesty, deceit, dark humor, pleasure, pain, confusion, dependence, love and lust each play decisive roles in her believable fictions. In "Come and Go," three characters and an author collide. In "Pleasure Isn't a Pretty Picture," the reader is treated to a he/she meditation on the one-night stand. And "Dead Sleep" is truly an insomniac's worst nightmare. A twin act on a double bill, "This Is Not It" is a collection of innovative and stand-alone writing that also engages and matches wits with the some of the best contemporary art: work by Kiki Smith, Jane Dickson, Jessica Stockholder, Diller & Scofidio, Laura Letinsky, Peter Dreher, Roni Horn, Stephen Ellis, Juan Munoz, Vik Muniz, Silvia Kolbowski, Jeff Koons, James Welling, Aura Rosenberg, Barbara Ess, Barbara Kruger, Dolores Marat, Haim Steinbach, Gary Schneider, Marco Breuer, Stephen Prina and Linder Sterling. Since 1982, acclaimed novelist Tillman has created these unique narratives that are a parallel universe to the contemporary art world. Maybe they're analogues or dialogues, maybe fictions inspired by art, maybe reflections, or meditations--but whatever they're called, like Borges's fictions, they are their own worlds, too. Tillman has marked out terrain of her own, which this collection celebrates. Full of life and art, "This Is Not It" is illuminating, bold, subtle and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 162.56 x 218.44 x 25.4mm | 589.67g
  • Distributed Art Publishers
  • Ney York, United States
  • English
  • 32col.ill.
  • 1891024469
  • 9781891024467
  • 609,042

Review Text

Cultural pointillist and novelist Tillman (No Lease on Life, 1998, etc.) continues to trace the writhings of her conflicted literary personae in these disembodied downtown tales tenuously connected to artwork that introduces each of the 23 tales. The writer moves fluidly in out of the voices in these short (sometimes two-page) stories, interrupting and correcting her characters at random or whenever she grows bored. In the first story, "Come and Go," inspired by a Peter Dreher painting of an empty glass, the movements of three diverse New Yorkers collide in a hospital emergency room: Charles, a publicist, is receiving the news that he does not have cancer; Emma is having her ankle treated after running into Charles at a greenmarket; and Maggie, a beautiful young junkie, has come to dry out. What do these characters want? Tillman probes continuously: "They didn't want to be themselves, they wanted to be someone else." A so-called Madame Realism is the protagonist for several of the pieces (inspired by the art of Kiki Smith and Jeff Koons, for example), and becomes a source of observations on mindless TV shows and the dynamics of the dinner party. In "Lust for Loss" (introduced by a Diller & Scofidio reproduction ad infinitum of one suitcase), Madame Realism actually travels to Normandy to visit the beaches of Operation Overlord and record the stories of loss she unearths there. Tillman has an acute sensibility to the treacherous nuances of desire between the sexes, and in stories such as "Hold Me" (inspired by a Gary Schneider copy of a child's hand) and "Phantoms" (introduced by a Laura Letinsky photograph of an alluring couple behind curtains), she explores obsessively the hunger that drives people to each other. A disorienting ride through a postmodern hall of mirrors, leaving the reader wishing Tillman had taken one story and developed it more fully. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

64 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 42% (27)
4 23% (15)
3 22% (14)
2 5% (3)
1 8% (5)
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