Monday, June 28, 2010

An Unassuming Little Volume

Nina MacLaughlin at Bookslut writes: “On Being Blue is a peculiar, lovely, and beguiling treatise, not on the condition, not on lowness or gloom, but on the color — what it is and means and does. The essay, at just ninety-one pages, wanders and dips and loops, language-driven on a molecular level. His sentences are such that we’re seduced along, maybe, at times, at the expense of making all his meanings. His lust for language infects.

“It’s about sex and about language and about the language of sex, and how we’re failed by language in writing about sex, and how we fail sex with language. ‘What we need, of course, is a language which will allow us to distinguish the normal or routine fuck from the glorious, the rare, or the lousy one... but we have more names for parts of horses than we have for kinds of kisses.’ And it’s daunting to describe that blanket, blue across the bed — (he was right) — the way it took us when we lost our selves in sleep or other sorts of surrender, a thing and a state, a color and a feeling.”

Gass' unassuming little volume is also the only book ever featured in a Playboy centerfold spread, posed in the hands of some undoubtedly lovely young woman. We have no idea who the model was, but if you can find the issue in which the book appears there may be a little reward in it for you.

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