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While the tumultuous 1970s rock the world around them, a collection of aging expatriates linger in a quiet town on the island of Crete, where they have escaped their pasts and their present. Among them is Horace, a gay American writer who fears he has finally reached old age. Friends only frustrate him, and his youthful Greek lover provides little satisfaction. Idling his time away with alcohol and working on a novel that he will never finish, Horace feels closer than ever to his own sorry end.That is, until a young, enigmatic American woman named Helen joins his crowd of outsiders. In Helen, Horace discovers someone brilliant, beautiful, and stubbornly mysterious - in short, she becomes his absolute obsession.But as Horace knows, people have a way of preserving their secrets even as they try to forget them. Soon, Helen's past begins to follow her to Crete. A suicidal ex-lover appears without warning; whispers of her long-dead sister surface in local gossip; and signs of ancient Gypsy rituals come to the fore. Helen vanishes. Deep down, Horace knows that he must find her before he can find any peace within himself.
In uncompromising and fresh prose, Tillman tells the story of three very contemporary girls. Grace, Emily and Jane collide with friends, family, and culture under dark and comic circumstances, presented in uncanny, disturbing, and sometimes shocking terms. In Haunted Houses, Tillman wries of the past within the present, and of the inescapability of private memory and public history. A caustic account of how America makes and unmakes a young woman.
For the narrator of Motion Sickness, life is an unguided tour. Adrift in Europe, she improvises a life and a self. In London, she's befriended by an expatriate American Buddhist and her mysterious husband, or may or may not be stalking her. In Paris, she shacks up with Arlette, an art historian obsessed with Velazquez;s painting "Las Meinas." In Amsterdam, she teams up with a Belgian friend, who is studying prostitutes, and she tours Italy with deeply mismatched English brothers. And, as with an epic journey, the true trajectory is inwards, ever inwards, into her own dreams and desires...
The New York of Lynne Tillman's hilarious, audacious fourth novel is a boiling point of urban decay.The East Village streets are overrun with crooked cops, drug addicts, pimps and prostitutes. Garbage piles up along the sidewalks amid the blaring soundtrack of car stereos. Confrontations are supercharged by the summer heat wave. This merciless noise has left Elizabeth Hall an insomniac. Junkies roam her building and overturn trashcans, but the mean-spirited landlord refuses to help clean or repair the decrepit conditions. Live-in boyfriend Roy is good-natured but too avoidant to soothe the sores of city life.Though Elizabeth fights on for normalcy and sanity in this apathetic metropolis, violent fantasies threaten to push her over the edge. In vivid detail, she begins to imagine murders: those of the "morons" she despises, and, most obsessively, her own.Frightening, hilarious, and wholly addictive, No Lease on Life is an avant-garde sucker-punch, a plea for humanity propelled by dark wit and unflinching honesty. Tillman's spare prose, frank, poignant and always illuminating, captures all the raving absurdity of a very bad day in America's toughest, hottest melting pot.
Here is an American mind contemplating contemporary society and culture with wit, imagination, and a brave intelligence. Tillman upends expectations, shifts tone, introduces characters, breaches limits of genre and category, reconfiguring the world with the turn of a sentence. Like other unique thinkers, Tillman sees the world differently-she is not a malcontent, but she is discontented. Her responses to art and literature, to social and political questions change the reader's mind, startling it with new angles. Which is why so many of us who know her work often wonder: what would Lynne Tillman do? A long-time resident of New York, Tillman's sharp humor is like her city's, tough and hilarious. There are distinct streams of concern coursing through the seeming eclecticism of topics-Hillary Clinton, Jane Bowles, O.J. Simpson, art and artists, Harry Mathews, the state of fiction, film, the state of her mind, the State of the Nation. There is a great variety, but what remains consistent is how differently she writes about them, how well she understands, how passionate and bold her writing is.What does Lynne Tillman do? Everything. Anything. You name it. She has a conversation with you, and you're a better, smarter person for it.