A raw, cerebral work devoted to the inextricability of pleasure and pain, and to the question of what role, if any, aesthetic beauty can play in times of great heartache or grief.
A Guardian Book of the Year
Maggie Nelson is one of the most electrifying writers at work in America today, among the sharpest and most supple thinkers of her generation - Olivia Laing
Bluets winds its way through depression, divinity, alcohol, and desire, visiting along the way with famous blue figures, including Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Yves Klein, Leonard Cohen and Andy Warhol. While its narrator sets out to construct a sort of 'pillow book' about her lifelong obsession with the colour blue, she ends up facing down both the painful end of an affair and the grievous injury of a dear friend. The combination produces a raw, cerebral work devoted to the inextricability of pleasure and pain, and to the question of what role, if any, aesthetic beauty can play in times of great heartache or grief.
Much like Roland Barthes's A Lover's Discourse, Bluets has passed between lovers in the ecstasy of new love, and been pressed into the hands of the heartbroken. Visceral, learned, and acutely lucid, Bluets is a slim feat of literary innovation and grace, never before published in the UK.
Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic and the author of five books of non-fiction. Her books include The Red Parts- Autobiography of a Trial, The Art of Cruelty- A Reckoning (a New York Times Editor's Choice) and The Argonauts (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award), as well as four collections of poetry. In 2016 she was awarded the MacArthur Genius fellowship. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
"Maggie Nelson is one of the most electrifying writers at work in America today, among the sharpest and most supple thinkers of her generation. " -- Olivia Laing "Maggie Nelson... She's so much better than anything I've read for a long, long time." -- Karl Ove Knausgaard "I remember where I was when I read each of Maggie Nelson's books in the same way I remember a place where I heard important news. Her words come, as though from a great distance, and strike incredibly close. I did not actually read Bluets, I think -- I just let it hit me." -- Anne Enright "Arty, smart and gorgeous meditation on the color blue." Time Out "What could be more invented than a life story that reads like a novel? Bluets doesn't invent that way: its inventions are wilder, wiser (and more true) than that... each proposition is breathtaking." Brick