Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love
A novel by Anna Moschovakis
August 14, 2018 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 224 pages • 978-1-56689-508-8
Close friends / distant lovers / lost paragraphs / a theft, a trip, a commune, a question: How to live in this world?
A missing laptop, a critic, a sojourn in communal living—Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love is a bracingly intelligent examination of grief, autonomy, aging, desire, information overload, and the condition of being a thinking and feeling inhabitant of an often unthinkable, numbing world. Anna Moschovakis’s debut novel bristles with honesty, humor, and the hungers that propel us to revise and again revise our lives.
About the Author
Anna Moschovakis’s books include They and We Will Get into Trouble for This, You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake (winner of the James Laughlin Award), and English translations of Albert Cossery’s The Jokers, Annie Ernaux’s The Possession, and Bresson on Bresson. She is a longtime member of the Brooklyn-based publishing collective Ugly Duckling Presse and cofounder of Bushel, a collectively run art and community space in the Catskills. This is her first novel.
Thanks to a 2013 ADA Access Improvement Grant administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, this title is also formatted for screen readers which make text accessible to the blind and visually impaired. To purchase this title for use with a screen reader please call (612) 338-0125 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Philosophically exhaustive yet profoundly human, this book sets itself the task of asking the big questions—What am I? What was I? What will I be?—in a style that evokes Lispector and Camus but with the self-referential and weary globalism of the current milieu. A consummately accomplished novel. A worthy treatise on the now.” —Kirkus, starred review
“Performance art in print.” —Publishers Weekly
“A brilliant, visceral, sensual examination of the condition of being a woman, and the inherent struggles related to identity and authority that exist for all of us.” —Nylon
“This is a novel about noticing and ruminating rather than assessing and concluding. The daily weather, interchanges with passing acquaintances, views out the window, are accorded the same attentive courtesy as love and pain. Life isn’t seen as a grand arc but as one thing after another, second by second. The book offers each moment, each sentence equably and leaves us to decide what is important and how.” —Star Tribune
“Funny, intelligent, and sensual, although also unsettled, Eleanor is engaging from the onset and a welcoming new female voice, proving Moschovakis has the potential to become an accomplished novelist. Recommended for most fiction readers.” —Library Journal
“By turns funny, melancholic, and provocative, Anna’s novel undoes and remakes the conventions of realist fiction through repetition and compression of time . . . It is ‘luminously ordinary’ in its progression, where profound shifts are as small as a postcard written or a hand touched.” —BOMB
“Moschovakis has outdone herself with Eleanor; it reveals all the emptiness behind our collective aspirations and makes me want to slow down and speed up all at once, empty and fill myself, perform and be true. It exists in a place of contradictions, just like we all do, and it feels like there’s no better literary mirror into which we should all gaze right now.” —Nylon
“Moschovakis is in search of a way of presenting a woman’s life that is not expressed solely through family and bonds with others—that rebuffs inherited conventions while acknowledging that women are still labouring their way through the mare’s nest chaotically erected by patriarchy.” —Frieze
“In narrating the twisting, intersecting plots by which Eleanor, the novelist, and Aidan move from disconnection to connection, and probably back to disconnection again, Moschovakis has created a novel of great strength and flex. Much as it bends and twists and gyres, it does not break, in fact only accumulates more tensile strength from the motion, just as, one hopes, we all can do.” —Brooklyn Rail
“Her prose is marvelously rich with meaning, conceptually dense and precise in phrasing.” —Commonplace Review
“[A] carefully controlled, intelligent novel of ideas.” —Literary Hub
“Eleanor is a witty novel, studded with provocative literary and philosophical references.” —BBC
“[A] brilliant, visceral, sensual examination of the condition of being a woman, and the inherent struggles related to identity and authority that exist for all of us.” —Nylon
“Moschovakis’ book seem[s] to arrange itself as we move, dreamlike, through it, encountering a singular architecture of novel and novelist that challenges us to read and think towards new possibilities, new heights.” —Arkansas International
“Moschovakis is a poet, and Eleanor is unmistakably a poet’s novel, alert to the textures of experience but relaxed in the pursuit of plot.” —Lambda Literary
“Anna Moschovakis takes the reader straight to the terrifying edge: that moment where one ages out of youthfulness and begins to flutter in the debris of middle living, flattened out by technology, wild-goose chasing one’s data. Yet, the deeper we look into Eleanor’s unsettledness, the more we see and the more hope we find in her rhizomic wandering. This is a beautiful slow burn of a novel.” —Renee Gladman
“I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that captures so deftly what it’s like to live at a time of big data and mundane precarity, where connections seem at once incredibly easy to form and incredibly difficult to maintain. With keen insight and probing humor, Anna Moschovakis vitally engages the ecosystem of art, ideas, and narratives that make up the things that we call our lives.” —Alexandra Kleeman
“Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love is brilliant, inventive, funny, and full of sharp, keen insights. Anna Moschovakis is one of the most invigorating invigilators of our current moment, in all of its complexity and vexatious paradox. To paraphrase its protagonist, this book is a performance that is quality life—try now!” —James Hannaham
Praise for Anna Moschovakis:
“Deeply engaging. . . . Moschovakis sets philosophy, etymology, and memory in motion to show that ‘There are many ways to follow a thought.’” —Publishers Weekly
“Anna Moschovakis is a great abstract poet in the sense that she explores how formal procedures and found vocabularies and grammatical structures delimit what we can express at a given historical moment. But what makes her an indispensable writer is how she is able—and through her we are able—to experience questions of logical and linguistic relation as intensely lived, as sites not only of critical reflection, but of love. This book completes what I consider an essential poetic trilogy. It has expanded my sense of how I, you, they, we might address one another in the present tense of art.” —Ben Lerner
“They and We Will Get into Trouble for This may have its lineage in various traditions, but if we call it avant-garde or experimental, it is to say that it provides new ways of looking at what poetry can do at this very moment, broadening our perception of what was always possible. In that sense, it is a rich and momentous book, which should establish Anna Moschovakis as one of the most important poets writing today.” —Kenyon Review
“I enjoy and appreciate her philosophically bent poetry, her austere use of language, and the sense of violence that charges her poems.” —San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Perhaps what is needed now is what this book supplies: beautiful and fraught complexity. . . . Philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, and other realms of theory are woven throughout the book, which never creates an academic distance, but builds a path toward intimacy.” —Boston Review
“It feels smart, unsettled—at times evasive, and at others so straightforward that it hurts.” —American Poet