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Ayushi Agarwal

IWB Blogger

‘I Love Dick’: A Cult Feminist Classic On Relationships

  • IWB Post
  •  November 6, 2015


I Love Dick. No, this is not a preference but the title of a legendary book written by Chris Kraus. The novel was published in 1997, but received a rather lukewarm response, both critically and commercially from the masses. In reality, it is a gem for relationship advice and enlightenment.

It is increasingly being unearthed by literary enthusiasts in the UK, and is being considered as a cult feminist classic.

In 1994 a married, failed independent filmmaker, turning forty, falls in love with a well-known theorist and endeavors to seduce him with the help of her husband. But when the theorist refuses to answer her letters, the husband and wife continue the correspondence for each other instead, imagining the fling the wife wishes to have with Dick. What follows is a breathless pursuit that takes the woman across America and away from her husband; and far beyond her original infatuation into a discovery of the transformative power of first person narrative. I Love Dick is a manifesto for a new kind of feminist who isn’t afraid to burn through her own narcissism in order to assume responsibility for herself and for all the injustice in world;and it’s a book you won’t put down until the author’s final, heroic acts of self-revelation and transformation.

Emily Gould, from The Guardian writes, “When I first found the book, it seemed to me like the missing piece that made sense of everything else I’d ever read, plus everything I’d ever tried to write. I was 28 and just finishing a book of essays, I’d been lucky to encounter other books Kraus had edited in the Native Agents series, but I Love Dick connected the dots for the first time. Most of the other books I’d ever read had been by or about men, or about women only in relation to men. This book was brazenly, unapologetically about being a woman.”

She adds, “This is the most important book about men and women written in the last century. If you are not a man (or even if you are one) and you feel curious about why the current state of heterosexual relations leaves you feeling angry, empty or ill-used, you can use this book to explain yourself to yourself, and become a wiser, or maybe just more complicated, person.

“I thought this story would be something about how love can change the world. But that’s probably too corny,” Kraus writes, somewhere near the midpoint of the book. It is that, and so much more. It is also about how love can change the world for worse, not better.

I can’t wait to dive into it! And you?

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