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Americans, Guests, or Us, by Caren Beilin

New Michigan Press9781934832370

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"Remember when we were young and first dreamed of a life of writing? It would be like living as a spy, or in a movie. Life suddenly made sense and could be endured insofar as it could be written. Pain and humiliation could be used. People, good and evil, were characters. Everywhere clarified lush, miraculous images. Not a word, a moment, would be again lowly. In the center was the dream of the writing, taking shape as the unfolding encyclopedia of our lives—heroic, magical, wise. At some point, we actually began to live that life, yet with the humiliation and miraculousness warped. Our mothers and fathers are dead. Everything has burned or is gone with the wind. What remains is the encyclopedia, from which Caren Beilin's writings have been torn—more hallucinatory, masturbatory and sociopathic, while also more bold, brave and beautiful, than our minds once conceived. AMERICANS, GUESTS, OR US is the realization and destruction of the dream. And we are within it, animal and timeless: inhabitants, strangers, the writing, the vengeance; the heartrock of Earth's outer space." —Brandon Shimoda
"Harsh and sexy and at all times uniquely American." —Jesse Bercowetz