Blood and Guts in High School
'Acker gives her work the power to mirror the reader's soul' William S. Burroughs 'Kathy Acker's writing is virtuoso, maddening, crazy, so sexy, so painful, and beaten out of a wild heart that nothing can tame. Acker is a landmark writer' Jeanette Winterson This is the story of Janey, who lived in a locked room, where she found a scrap of paper and began to write down her life. It's a story of lust, sex, pain, youth, punk, anarchy, gangs, the city, feminism, America, Jean Genet and the prisons we create for ourselves. A heady, surreal mash-up of coming-of-age tale, prose, poetry, plagiarism and illustration, Kathy Acker's breakthrough 1984 novel caused huge controversy and made her an avant-garde literary icon. Published to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Kathy Acker's untimely death, Blood and Guts in High School is published for the first time in Penguin Classics, acknowledging the profound impact she has had on our culture, and alongside the authors her work pulsates with the influence of: William S. Burroughs, Cervantes and Charles Dickens, among others.
Acker is a postmodern Colette with echoes of Cleland's Fanny Hill -- William S. Burroughs A coming-of-age story which examines incest and paedophilia with a profoundly Sadist literary bent ... can be credited with moving mainstream literature into indie territory. -- A Stevens * Guardian * Acker's work, more than that of any other writer I can think of, challenged the traditional lines of demarcation between poetry and novel, between high culture and popular trash and, perhaps most important of all, between literature and art world. -- London Review of Books * Peter Wollen * [Kathy Acker is] part rebel bohemian avant-gardiste, part NYC downtown punk, and part venerable literary grande dame -- Michael Bracewell Twenty years after her death and I still miss her -- Neil Gaiman Acker gives her work the power to mirror the reader's soul -- William S. Burroughs Acker understands that writing without myth is nothing * Chris Kraus * Kathy Acker's writing is virtuoso, maddening, crazy, so sexy, so painful, and beaten out of a wild heart that nothing can tame. Acker is a landmark writer -- Jeanette Winterson Scarified sensibility,subversive intellect, and predatory wit make her a writer like no other * The New York Times Review of Books * An avatar of nomadic urban modern primitive tribes... her novels perform postmodern campfire grill voodoo... She was a magician -- R.U. Sirius Reading Kathy Acker is like playing hopscotch with a genius -- Richard Foreman
Kathy Acker was born in 1947 and was raised in New York City. In her twenties she broke ties with her family and worked as a stripper, while writing and publishing in the underground literary scene. The 1984 publication of Blood and Guts in High School caused a sensation - the book was at the centre of a surge of media attention. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, she abandoned Western medicine after a traumatic experience of surgery. She died in an alternative cancer clinic in Tijuana, Mexico in 1997.Her major novels include Blood and Guts in High School, Great Expectations, Don Quixote and Pussy, King of the Pirates. A collection of her emails with cultural theorist McKenzie Wark was published in 2015, titled I'm Very into You.