An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family.
Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, is an intimate portrayal of the complexities and joys of (queer) family making.
Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.
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A relaxing meditation on identity, gender and art
Intelligent Stream of Thought on Gender &Sexuality
If I could go back, I would definitely rather read the print version than listen to the audiobook. Maggie Nelson has a very eloquent and intelligent way of speaking/writing, and so I feel I would've better understood her story and what she was trying to say if I were able to visually re-read and analyze certain passages. She used a handful of words that I was not familiar with when listening to this while driving for lengthy periods of time, and so I was unable to look up the definitions of those particular words in the moment. Another issue with listening to this book instead of reading it is that Nelson uses a lot of quotations from other writers, theorists, and philosophers and this sometimes makes the performance a little choppy because of the author having to verbally say "quote... unquote" around every quotation.
I loved the mixture of styles. Nelson masterfully intertwined memoir story telling with intellectual/academic discussions of gender, sexuality, and relationship. This is definitely not your average story or novel, it is very unique and so it really stands above and beyond any other book for me.
I have not, but I think her narration of this novel was fantastic. I imagine some may think she had a lack of animation to her voice, but I loved her straight forward way of reading. For me it made the humour of certain passages really stand out, as well as letting the words speak for themselves.
The Argonauts: Falling forever, falling to pieces
Although I loved this book, I do wish it would have been divided into a couple more chapters. I also wish the audiobook would have verbally indicated when chapters were beginning
- Claire T.