New Fiction: Intimations – Alexandra Kleeman

Here’s another book that landed on several Fall 2016 “Must Read” lists. Kleeman’s debut made her a must read for me. I finished last year’s You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and wondered what dimension she’d beamed in from…and how the people in that dimension could be such sharply trenchant observers of American culture. It felt surprisingly new; the closest comp I could come was Don DeLillo and his surreal riffs on America. The NYTBR called You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine “a powerful allegory of our civilization’s many maladies, artfully and elegantly articulated.”

This time out Kleeman’s offering a collection of stories that her editor describes as “narrative diagrams of the three main stages in a human life: the distress of birth into a world already formed, the brief and confusing period of ‘living’ where you understand what is expected of you and struggle to do it, and the deathy period toward the end where you sense it is ending and will end only partially understood, at best.”

Aiyiyi. You should read her. She’ll alter your frame of reference. In a good way. Maybe.

“Alexandra Kleeman sees things differently. At least, that’s how it feels when you read these curious and lovely stories. Existence, survival, touch: all become strange in this collection…as if the author knows of a different dimension or scientific method we have no idea is out there.”

“Kleeman brings her twisted, evocative style to a thought-provoking collection of stories….These stories, absurdist, bleak, and funny, defy straightforward interpretation and instead linger long afterward, to be reinterpreted as they mutate in the reader’s mind.
Publishers Weekly

Kleeman follows her much-discussed debut, You Too Can Have a Body like Mine, with a cerebral story collection about the torments of an abrasive world and such visceral topics as mortality, vulnerability, love, and loss of control. Many of the 12 tales are infused with the surreal or intangible….Kleeman thoroughly owns her material, and her inventive collection offers a prodigious exploration into distinctive realms.”

“‘Nobody thought the apocalypse would be so polite and quirky,’ according to the final story in this collection, which imagines the end as a series of disappearances—first the house keys, then the cat, then one’s boyfriend, a lake, one’s memories. This sort of whimsical philosophical inquiry is a common thread in Kleeman’s second book. With a literary genealogy that includes great-uncles like DeLillo and Pynchon and cousins like Rivka Galchen and Ben Marcus and can be traced back to/blamed on Samuel Beckett.”
Kirkus Reviews

Intimations (9780062388704) by Alexandra Kleeman. $25.99 hardcover. 9/13/16 on sale.

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