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Torpor [KINDLE] ✽ Torpor Author Chris Kraus – Sylvie wanted to believe that misery could simply be replaced with happiness Time was a straight line stretching out before you If you could create a golden kind of time and lay it right beside the ot Sylvie wanted to believe that misery could simply be replaced with happiness Time was a straight line stretching out before you If you could create a golden kind of time and lay it right beside the other time the time of horror Bad History could just recede into the distance without ever having to be resolved from TorporSet at the dawn of the New World Order Chris Kraus's third novel Torpor loops back to the beginning of the decade that was the basis of I Love Dick her pseudo confessional cult classic debut It's summer post MTV pre AOL Jerome Shafir and Sylvie Green two former New Yorkers who can no longer afford an East Village apartment set off on a journey across the entire former Soviet Bloc with the specious aim of adopting a Romanian orphan Nirvana's on the radio everywhere and wars are erupting across YugoslaviaUnhappily married to Jerome a year old Columbia University professor who loathes academe Sylvie thinks only of happiness At she dreams of stuffed bears and wonders why their lives lack the tremulous sincerity that pervades thirtysomething that season's hot new TV show There are only two things Sylvie thinks that will save them a child of their own and the success of The Anthropology of Unhappiness her husband's long postponed book on the Holocaust But as they move forward toward impoverished Romania Jerome's memories of his father's extermination at Auschwitz and his own childhood survival impede themSavagely ironic and deeply lyrical Torpor explores the swirling mix of nationalisms capital flows and negative entropy that define the present haunted by the persistence of historical memory Written in the third person it is her most personal novel to date.

  • Paperback
  • 285 pages
  • Torpor
  • Chris Kraus
  • English
  • 01 June 2015
  • 9781584350279

About the Author: Chris Kraus

Chris Kraus is a writer filmmaker and professor of film at European Graduate School in Saas Fee Switzerland Her books include I Love Dick Aliens Anorexia and Torpor Video Green Kraus' first non fiction book examines the explosion of late s art by high profile graduate programs that catapulted Los Angeles into the center of the international art world Her films include Gravity G.

10 thoughts on “Torpor

  1. El El says:

    I read this article on Slatecom the other day The article explains the plot and all that fairly well so if that's what you're looking for please clicky click the link and check that outWhat I want to say is that this little book is one of those books that can destroy you It can frustrate you and make you want to shake the characters and it can make you feel better about yourself because you would never put up with fill in the blank in any of your relationships But you would be lying You probably have put up with fill in the blank in one of your relationships maybe even the one you're in currently You probably think Well that's not the same but it is Everyone puts up with something And to outsiders it always looks really sad And those people may be frustrated with you and want to shake you Trust me; it's trueI could relate simultaneously to Sylvie and Jerome at different times in the story and I think most readers could if they're honest with themselves People tend to do all sorts of crazy things to try to keep their marriages together or to make their partner happy sometimes even sacrificing a piece of themselves in the process or hating themselves just the teensiest bit along the way maybe not as crazy as going to Romania in the early 90s to try to adopt a baby but you get my driftOn their travels we see a lot about their relationship from both perspectives and they are both heartbreaking in their bleakness The article says bleak reviews say bleak; I hate to be unoriginal but bleak is exactly how it feels This isn't a bad read though It's just hard at timesAlso hard for me was that Sylvie and Jerome take their 13 year old lap dog with them on this journey of theirs a sick animal who has recently had a tumor removed Destroyed me you guys Don't talk to me about sick sad animal sorts especially dogs because I know ALL TEH FEELINGS This morning on my bus commute I read a scene towards the end where Jerome kissed one side of the dog's muzzle and Sylvie kissed the other side and their hands met around the dog's faceOkay so I wasn't sobbing in any way that anyone could tell because I'm a Viking but inside I was a wreck How many furry faces have my boyfriend and I kissed exactly like that? How many sick furry friends have we lost?Moving onI loved the glimpse into the early 90s in Eastern Europe since I was in the sixth grade when the Berlin Wall came down and have a different understanding of all the complex issues that still affect everyone This book was published in 2006 but that doesn't matter it still feels like 1991 during most of the readingThis won't be great for everyone I enjoyed it it appealed to so many layers of my inner chaos It's one of those books that just hits a personal chord I'm glad I came across it had I seen this at the library on my own I likely wouldn't have picked it up because the cover feels funny in my hands yes it's true but look what I would have missed Thank you Slatecom And thank you Chris Kraus

  2. Lee Foust Lee Foust says:

    Well it's now official reading this novel pretty much solidifies Chris Kraus as my favorite contemporary novelist Her writing makes me seriously jealousWorkshopping the novel that I hope to publish next year last Monday evening I broke down whining I keep trying to find that balance between the tell it like it is punk rocker in me and the hopelessly romantic literary craftsperson who's read far too much Maurice Blanchot et al to stay put in the traditional and too much in general not to drop names Where do I find the balance between rant and reference talking shit and polishing up literary precious metals?Chris Kraus finds the balance Often it is in the ironic facing off of a famous post structuralist philosopher or philosophy with a real world situation that makes a poignant jab at both reality and intellect I'll never forget the passage in this novel that presents Felix Guattari's ideas as it chronicles his less than idyllic marriage self centered womanizing and pitiful death For me such work presents the devastating gap between human ideas and the day to day struggle with our bodies its needs and our consciences' constant denial of others in order to get us through to another day Perhaps ignorance really is bliss or perhaps intellectuals are lucky to escape as often as they are able into ideas in order to avoid the knee deep mess piled up around us before we were born which will keep almost all of our lives out of our own control as we slog through them and which we know we will die in without having changed these facts in any noticeable way Unless it be through those very ideas that look so wispy and transitory against the weighty backdrop of the mundane Torpor indeedI have read attacks on Kraus as a cynic ironic or just a plain old bitch since at best her novels are roman a clef exercises in self and other exposure it's not a totally ad hominem argument These readers to me at least miss the possibility that she doesn't bring up the postmodern talking points merely to ridicule them While they may often wither and sound trite before scenes of real people suffering real indignities their inclusion in her work to me is not to ridicule but rather to test and to weigh them and their usefulness to us all Although it could be argued that her tell it like it is punk rock passages are cruel and insensitive and nasty it's hard for me to dismiss them as such because there is also a great deal of empathy in her work Even though Torpor is a roman a clef it's not Lady Caroline Lamb lambasting is that where the phrase originated I wonder? Lord Byron; Kraus had a great deal to say about the interior lives and struggles of the characters who are not self portraits in the novelThis novel is an amazing balancing act

  3. beth beth says:


  4. Mel Campbell Mel Campbell says:

    I liked this so much than 'I Love Dick' its form and use of language feels much nuanced and graceful and I was able to engage with it much on the level of sheer reading enjoyment where I was only able to enjoy the earlier novel in an intellectual way Perhaps it says something about where I am in my life but while I recognise the book is meant to contain a dark farcical humour of the sort where people look ridiculous and struggle to make themselves understood I was only able to find it deeply upsetting and poignant I cried at Sylvie's sense of loss a loss that's everywhere around her It's in her past her deep nostalgia and her sentimental aesthetic preferences; the yearned for unborn babies she sacrificed to practicality and self abnegation; her present her torpid marriage to Jerome a man mired by choice in the past who doesn't have any ambitions of his own and doesn't want what's important to Sylvie; and her future the dwindling of her fertility and the ageing of her beloved dog Lily the only thing holding Sylvie and Jerome's marriage togetherI also despaired at the smugness and pointlessness of public artisticintellectual life which robs people of dignity and forces them into performative codependent relationships where real power relations are tastefully concealed by appearances of friendship and conviviality In many ways 'Torpor' answers the key uestion of 'I Love Dick' how does a couple reach a point where collaboratively lusting after a work acuaintance feels like a normal thing to do? There's a deep and aimless unhappiness in this novel that is compared to and contrasted with historical trauma and upheaval; but I related to it best on the level of a person adrift in the world and trying to grasp things that seem meaningful along the way whether those be everyday rituals happy memories tastes and preferences or creative projectsOh my god the bear Honey I was a mess by that point

  5. Imogen Imogen says:

    A joke What do you get when you cross bleak with brutal? Torpor by Chris Kraus Oh my god This is the story of an ex punk video artist and her older lover a college professor in his fifties who's got hell of connections to a bunch of French theorists and that's what he's famous for It is BLEAK Did I mention bleak? BLEAK They don't like each other they never really liked each other they don't get along she's gotten pregnant and had abortions with him a bunch of times so what do they do? Why take a trip to Romania to adopt a Romanian baby If the depictions of Romania in the late eighties and early nineties and then late nineties are accurate then that's a pretty perfect setting for their unromantic nonadventures because it is BLEAK Everybody is totally fucked basically Y'know? They have a dog and the dog is kind of their kid but the dog is also old And the writing is some of the least showy writing ever so it's not even like 'haha art world haha hatred' although every once in a while something is the hilarious kind of brutal instead of the depressing kind Um at the center of the structure is the ill fated trip to Romania but then their backstory and futurestory kind of swirl around that central narrative so it ends up being a very fleshed out story So you get sucked in TO THE BLEAKNESS I liked it I am excited to read of Chris Kraus's fiction; I guess she's basically in charge of Semiotexte or something?

  6. Mitch Mitch says:

    devastating beautiful romania orphans the end of history what else do you want?

  7. Kkee Kkee says:

    Coarse moody name dropping bio fiction Well pitched a little pissy

  8. M. Sarki M. Sarki says:

    An easier book to assimilate than I Love Dick with an ending justifying the complete reading of this novel thus lessoning the pain of my manifesting time lost never to be regained Why a person would wish to end his life this way is beyond my understanding Nonetheless I continue to practice this disagreeable discipline Suffice to say there is nothing remarkable to report regarding this novel Names could be dropped but Kraus already has this operation down in spades A little pillow talk might be fun but my too brief and untidy accounting would be a shame to suffer through just as hers was

  9. Isaac Isaac says:

    A wonderful portrait of the preInternet European intellectual circuit just as the last dictatorships are falling In retrospect I'm reminded of an episode of AbFab in which Eddy threatens to adopt a Romanian baby In this case KrausSylvie's motives are similarly geared towards keeping her sinking marriage afloat Unlike Eddy she doesn't need to ask but is it art? because she's armed with a than adeuate set of meta cuspids to settle the uestion

  10. David David says:

    I can't recommend this enough for anyone with an interest in prose and a taste for the melancholic and profound With innovative layered writing Kraus brings the modern into brute relief crafting a sweeping story with precision and an effortless mapping onto the symbolic These 300 pages are brimming

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