"She had no idea what to do with love, she experienced it as invasion, as the prelude to loss and pain, she really didn't have a clue."
Kathy is a writer. Kathy is getting married. It's the summer of 2017 and the whole world is falling apart. Fast-paced and frantic, Crudo unfolds in real time from the full-throttle perspective of a commitment-phobic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker.
From a Tuscan hotel for the superrich to a Brexit-paralyzed United Kingdom, Kathy spends the first summer of her forties adjusting to the idea of a lifelong commitment. But it's not only Kathy who's changing. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead, the planet is heating up, and Trump is tweeting the world ever-closer to nuclear war. How do you make art, let alone a life, when one rogue tweet could end it all?
In Crudo, her first work of fiction, Olivia Laing radically rewires the novel with a fierce, compassionate account of learning to love when the end of the world seems near.
"Crudo could turn out to be a novel that we pick up years from now to remind ourselves how these times felt... Love may not be original, but this funny, fervent novel is." -- Alexandra Schwartz - The New Yorker
"Written with bristling intelligence... [Crudo is] about the longing to escape our ossified selves-to become, if only for moment or within the pages of a novel, someone wilder and more radically free. And in staging that longing so directly and so honestly, Olivia Laing makes Crudo her own." -- New York Times Book Review
"Breathless and gripping... [Crudo] traps the first summer of Trump and Brexit like a fly in amber." -- NPR
"[A] pretzel twist of form and meaning... Laing strikes some terrific chords in this novel." -- Dwight Garner - New York Times
"Crudo seduces from the very first sentence. Laing as Acker is not a literary device-it is literary detonation... Crudo is a hot, hot book." -- Guardian
"[A] single moment in modernity, deconstructed by the savagely entertaining, Acker-inspired voice of Laing." -- Paris Review Daily
"A narrative written with immense vitality and, miraculously, the lightest of touches... It's a subversive love story that shouldn't work, but does." -- Deborah Levy - Wall Street Journal
"Laing's experiment, and it's a good one, is to describe the world-her world, between May 17 and September 23, 2017-as precisely as she can... [Crudo is] a short, entirely readable, and lovably eccentric book." -- Nick Hornby - The Believer
"Laing...dunks you into the narrative and its fast-moving waters. It's only once you get to the end that you realize you've been holding your breath." -- Vanity Fair
"[Crudo] manages to capture the delirium and anxiety of carrying on through [this] turbulent period with searing clarity." -- Time