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Socialist Realism

An essay by Trisha Low

August 13, 2019 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 168 pages • 978-1-56689-551-4

Moving west—from Singapore to America, from New York to California—a woman examines the myth of “finding home” even as she comes to terms with its impossibilities.

When Trisha Low moves west, her journey is motivated by the need to arrive “somewhere better”—someplace utopian, like revolution; or safe, like home; or even clarifying, like identity. Instead, she faces the end of her relationships, a family whose values she has difficulty sharing, and America’s casual racism, sexism, and homophobia.

In this book-length essay, the problem of how to account for one’s life comes to the fore—sliding unpredictably between memory, speculation, self-criticism, and art criticism, Low seeks answers that she knows she won’t find. Attempting to reconcile her desires with her radical politics, she asks: do our quests to fulfill our deepest wishes propel us forward, or keep us trapped in the rubble of our deteriorating world?

About the Author

Trisha Low is the author of The Compleat Purge (Kenning Editions 2013). She earned a BA at the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in performance studies at New York University. She lives in the East Bay.


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 info@coffeehousepress.org.

Reviews

Praise for Trisha Low

“Trisha Low has been leaving us periodic notes about what we can keep of hers if she should happen to go off the deep end. She’s also been leaving us her email password, her ATM PIN code, and an astonishing amalgamation of amatory fiction, IMs, craft patterns, magic spells, and film noir in which every romantic interest is a MacGuffin. Low says her virtuosic appropriations owe less to conceptual poetics than to her adolescent days of punk vandalism. Never mind if this booty was shoplifted, its stunning, and I promise you’ll want to keep everything she gives you.” —Barbara Browning

“Like hands reaching out from the grave in the final scene of Brian Di Palma’s Carrie, Trisha Low’s The Compleat Purge reaches out to beg the question: ‘What’s happened to the real Trisha?’ In Low’s epically eloquent new book, she hands us the keys to a crypt wherein identity is theorized as an act of para-suicide and girlhood a version of being buried alive. The Compleat Purge reframes Freud’s infamous query: ‘What do women want?’ by breathing new life into shifting ideals of feminine identity, sexuality, and erotics before the culturally determined ones land us in a coma.” —Kim Rosenfield

“Trisha Low is always dying. Age, place, fictional rendering all are subsumed to an origin already negated. She and her doubles evacuate with unmoving horror their teenage mania, displacing it, emptying the identities about whom its despair circulates. Once, maybe, this Trisha Low generated bodily heat, ate breakfast, loved and desired. No more. The Compleat Purge razes its confessional charms like effigies, foreclosing Low’s final vixi to her own secrets before they too are obliterated in time immemorial. He had gone from her sight, he had not lifted his bowed head, he had not looked back.” —J. Gordon Faylor