Crudo by Olivia Laing


A brilliant, funny, and emphatically raw novel of love on the brink of the apocalypse, from the acclaimed author of The Lonely City."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-throttl...

Details Crudo

Release DateSep 11th, 2018
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Novels

Reviews Crudo

  • Simon
    Without a doubt one of the most thought provoking books about ‘now’ I have read. Imagine Maggie Nelson wrote a novella about the summer of 2017 and discussed Trump, Brexit, Korea, gender, identity, sexuality, icebergs, mass wildlife decimation and all through a women just about to marry for the third time. And you’ve kind of got the gist.
  • Blair
    Kathy, by which I mean I, was getting married, goes the first line of Crudo. By means of references to her books, this first/third-person narrator clarifies that she is, or is talking about, Kathy Acker. And that it is specifically 19:45 on 13 May 2017. In this way, Crudo presents a challenge and a mystery on its very first page, since Acker died in 1997. Laing herself, on the other hand, did, as the character does, turn 40 and get married in 201...
  • Meike
    Did Olivia Laing just invent the "biographical pastiche"? In "Crudo", she cross-fades her life with the life of punk rock author and feminist icon Kathy Acker, not only remixing biographical facts, but also emulating Acker's signature rawness and radical openness to meditate about our current state of affairs. Our protagonist is 40-year-old "Kathy", and the story, set in 2017, is a snapshot of her life shortly before and after her wedding day - K...
  • Joachim Stoop
    3,5.4,5. There is no solid ground anymore. The now is build on quicksand in swamp area.2,1.What the hell is she talking about 0,5.Nailed it 5.3,5.4,5.2,5.2,5.3,,5.3,5.5.That's exactly as I feel 6.Lost you 1.Ok 3.Lost you again 1,5.Preach! 5.Focus Joachim focus 3.Sign o the times 4,5.2.3,5.3,7.3,8.Not again 2.Fuck Trump 5.Cusk is better 2.Ali Smith is sometimes similar 3.Tweets used in lit 4,5.Lost me. 1Why this description 2.Unclear.Co...
  • Sian Lile-Pastore
    I did not care for this. I couldn't really get past Laing kinda pretending she was Kathy Acker. The whole Kathy Acker thing made no sense to me - why are we pretending Acker is alive? and then if we were going along with it being Kathy Acker aged 40, how we were then meant to believe she was friends with loads of people who died during the aids crises when she would only have been about 10? I know that its a novel and that anything can happen rea...
  • Eric Anderson
    Recently I made a video talking about examples of contemporary authors who fictionally reimagine the lives of classic authors. But it's been a funny coincidence that the past two novels I've read do this exact thing in creatively pioneering ways. Cristina Rivera Garza brought back multiple versions of the Mexican writer Amparo Davila in her gender-bending “The Iliac Crest” and now Olivia Laing has done so in her first novel “Crudo” by mer...
  • Katia N
    This book might be described as a stream of consciousness by the main protagonist. And normally I would like this form. From the first page we understand that the main protagonist is a woman who might be Kathy Acker (a feminist icon who died in 1997) or might be the other woman who lives in 2017. Or more likely, it is the woman who strongly identifies with Kathy Acker to the point of not making the difference. It is a very hard premise to deliver...
  • ns510
    4.5 stars.”Kathy, by which I mean I, was getting married. Kathy, by which I mean I, had just got off a plane in New York.”And so begins this slim novel of sorts. With that opener, I already knew I was going to love this. It’s 2017, and somewhere in the world, ‘Kathy’ is going about her life. She is getting married, and debating the merits of this, while also having millennial worries about herself and how she measures up, about aging an...
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    This is as good as it’s cover which is saying a whole lot. Formally and stylistically this is the most exciting book of 2018 I’ve yet read. Kathy Acker would have loved it.
  • Maria Hill AKA MH Books
    This is about the Summer and Autumn of 2017; about Brexit, Trump, floods, fires, Twitter, Nuclear bomb testing, sumptuous parties, inane conversations, hangovers from hell. “2017 was turning into a bumper year, a real doozy, everything arse about tit.’This is a story about 40-year-old Kathy (an amalgam of a deceased author Kathy Acker and Olivia Laing herself) who is getting married and is just about as messed up as 2017. But unlike 2017, whi...
  • But_i_thought_
    Alas, this book wasn't for me. Told in the voice of a narrator who may or may not be Kathy Acker (an experimental writer and feminist icon who died in 1997), this book is a stream-of-consciousness thought dump, taking place in the summer of 2017. The narrator spends her days doing mostly nothing – sunbathing in hotels for the super-rich, getting on and off planes, socializing, fretting about her upcoming wedding - while compulsively consuming t...
  • Callum McAllister
    It's very hard to find a book that is so about the current moment -- not one that gets it a few years later. This is that book. It's also about love, but the kind of love story I can get behind. One where it is difficult to love and to be loved. Where loving is a compromise, a task, a risk and about giving things up, making room for others. It was a lot like Levy's The Cost of Living, in that way. Laing has, as usual, a masterful command of prose...
  • Kim
    zo veel tederheid. (zo veel zorgen, ook.) heel mooi. ik ben blij dat dit boek bestaat.
  • Robert Lukins
    Wonderfully delirious dig into the summer of 2017, Kathy Acker, confusion, love; all the mad and hard things.
  • Patricia Highsmith's Snail
    Quick thoughts:-Edit: I dislike this the more I think about it. It’s politically really dumb - twitter might just be a stream of news events but that’s not how we ultimately emotionally experience the news. If it’s a critique of the self-absorbed middle-classes, it doesn’t go far enough at all. It excuses its own ignorance and lack of engagement by pretending it’s just depicting a milieu. And making the narrator, a version of Kathy Acke...
  • Jennifer
    Crudo translates in Spanish as raw fish or seafood, and the English for crude means raw, unrefined, rough, constructed in a rudimentary way, etc. These definitions provide a hint of the writing style of Crudo which is stream-of-consciousness, fast-paced, and frantic. What is interesting is that most stream-of-consciousness writing is typically first-person voice unlike the third-person voice used for Crudo.The main character is a fictionalized Ka...
  • Ruby
    dazzlingly oscillates between paralyzing anxiety and pleasure (in the fullest sense of the word) and love & i'm here for it
  • Anna Baillie-Karas
    A tour de force. Kathy, fiercely independent, is getting married. She describes this time of change with honesty & wit: She has doubts, fears becoming mellow, loves her husband but fights & screams at him too. Laing juxtaposes this with world events of 2017. Thus Kathy enters the comfort of marriage as the world becomes unsettled & apocalyptic. The idea that we fret about climate change but at the same time eat lobster for dinner, resonates.
  • Chris Haak
    Again, I'm not sure about this one, so 3, 4 or 5 stars, I'll let it sink in. Crudo is about the summer of 2017: Trump, North Korea, Brexit, fasicism. It also is novel about Kathy Acker, actually, maybe Kathy even IS Kathy Acker. At times, reading felt like hard work. I'm not from the UK or the US, and the book is filled with references to British and American stuff I knew nothing about, like for instance 'EdStone,' so I needed to look up things w...
  • Liv J Hooper
    3.5⭐ 3.5⭐️
  • Becky
    "Ten years ago, maybe even five, it was possible to ignore atrocities, to believe that these things happened somewhere else, in a different order of reality from your own. Now, perhaps because of the internet, it was like the blind spot had got very small, and motionful like a marble. You couldn’t rely on it. You could go on holiday but you knew corpses washed up there, if not now then then, or later."— Crudo, Olivia LaingToday I was walking ...
  • Bart Van Overmeire
    I immediately had a nagging feeling about this book. I couldn't quite grasp why I didn't like it, or rather the people in it. And then it hit me as I leafed through the in-flight magazine on the plane and read a quote by the founder and CEO of Foodmaker: 'My dream is that everyone can eat healthily' while the next page advertised his delicious 5€ tiny ham and cheese sandwich. I guess both the Foodmaker CEO and the main character in Crudo believ...
  • Barnaby
    Wow, not quite sure what to say about this other than it turned my mind inside out and made me feel very, very worried about the world.
  • Heather
    Non-current events shoehorned into a cold narrative about nothing. Immediately dated and with nothing to say.
  • Gina
    This is completely out of the usual mould of novel writing. A long stream of consciousness with recurring themes on the appalling state of the world, politicians, consumerism, social media on the one hand, and personal love life and anxieties on the other. I found it a strangely compelling read, in spite of little emotional connection with Kathy the narrator. It aptly reflects all the stuff that goes through our inner minds as we fight our way th...
  • Mimi
    Kathy Acker is the new Frieda Kahlo, the female cultural icon du jour: subject of a recent biography, her correspondence with Mackenzie Wark published, her novels repositioned as modern classics and her legacy continually being reassessed. Olivia Laing’s novel builds on Acker’s current cachet, channelling Acker’s voice through the twinning of ‘Kathy’ with the anonymous female figure central to the narrative. ‘Crudo’ (raw) is a short...
  • Amy
    Crudo is certainly the appropriate title. The story reads raw, and our view into the psyche of protagonist Kathy is equally unprocessed and exposed -- but too intimate to be invasive. At times seemingly autobiographical, more often biographically-inspired by the late experimental novelist Kathy Acker, Crudo offers a glimpse into the perspective of an anxious and occasionally manic woman struggling with the beginning of a new chapter. Anxiety is a...