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American Romances Essays

Rebecca Brown


Rebecca Brown is the winner of the 2003 Washington State Book Award. Her books include: The Gifts of the Body, Excerpts From A Family Medical Dictionary, The Terrible Girls, The Dogs, Annie Oakley's Girl, and The End of Youth. She was awarded a Genius Award and grant from Seattle's weekly magazine, The Stranger.


The Haunted House

Rebecca Brown

Rebecca Brown's novel explores how a woman’s life is affected by growing up in an alcoholic family.




The Last Time I Saw You

Rebecca Brown

In The Last Time I Saw You, author Rebecca Brown returns to the obsessive, darkly humorous voice that has earned her comparisons to Samuel Beckett and Djuna Barnes. Some of the tales in this collection are told in the scrappy, breathless voice of a...




The End of Youth

Rebecca Brown

The End of Youth is a collection of 13 linked stories, essays and rants, about carrying on after youth's hope is gone. In "Afraid of the Dark," a child learns that there is good reason to be afraid. The adolescent narrator of "Description of a...




The Dogs
A Modern Bestiary

Rebecca Brown

The nameless narrator of The Dogs: A Modern Bestiary lives in her studio apartment with a pack of Doberman pinchers. The dogs, led by the cruel, charismatic bitch named Miss Dog, alternate between being brutal attack animals and loyal companions...




Annie Oakley's Girl

Rebecca Brown

"One of the freshest, most memorable story collections of my lifetime. And 'A Good Man,' one of the most important. Rarer than the newness, the wit, the vivid readability, is the deep caring understanding, the wholeness, the truth which...




The Terrible Girls

Rebecca Brown

The girls on the prowl in The Terrible Girls are indeed terrible-relentless in love, ruthless in betrayal. These thematically linked stories depict a contemporary Gothic world in which body parts are traded for love, wounds never heal, and...









"Everything and nothing is sacred in Rebecca Brown's essays. Tongue, word, thought, and intellect all conspire in a free language love of living history, divination, sex, solitude and amusement. She is America's only real rock n' roll schoolteacher. Lessons layered with profundity and protracted parallels. Where old world religion, Gertrude Stein and Oreo cookies co-exist"Everything and nothing is sacred in Rebecca Brown's essays. Tongue, word, thought, and intellect all conspire in a free language love of living history, divination, sex, solitude and amusement. She is America's only real rock n' roll schoolteacher. Lessons layered with profundity and protracted parallels. Where old world religion, Gertrude Stein and Oreo cookies co-exist in an actual and mystic world of wonder." --Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth

"If Rebecca Brown's talent for prose were any tighter, it would be a lyric -- to a pop standard. An homage -- a menage -- to America, exposing what's laid bare in a comic tragic redux. I laughed till it hurt." --Van Dyke Parks, Composer/Arranger

"Anyone who can get from the Eucharist, to a Necco Wafer, to the goo beween the Oreo wafers, to the Inquisition, to the goo between the legs of excited young women is a distant sibling of mine. She can dash and she can drift and she is not much interested in the really bad parts that might qualify as confession. She likes the float of quotidian living and I like to read the words upon which she floats." -- Dave Hickey, author of Air Guitar

The impulse to tell our worst to a bunch of strangers has been fueling American self-hood for 300 years: there's a direct line from the Puritan confession narrative to today's lurid, inescapable exhibitionism. But whose stories are we telling?

This collection of mordant, poignant, and playful essays shows Rebecca Brown at the height of her imaginative and intuitive powers. A wry, incisive social and literary critique is couched in a gonzo mix of pop culture, autobiography, fiction, literary history, misremembered movie plots, and fantasy that plays with the notion of what it is to be “American.” Fantastical connections and unlikely meetings span the course of America’s cultural history in a manic remix, featuring appearances by Brian Wilson, Gertrude Stein, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Invisible Man, the Abligensian Crusade, John Wayne, Felix Mendelssohn, JFK, Shane, and God.

Rebecca Brown’s books include: The Gifts of the Body, The Last Time I Saw You, The Haunted House, Terrible Girls, and The End of Youth....more

Paperback, 256 pages

Published June 1st 2009 by City Lights Publishers

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