The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

84%

9 Critic Reviews

Her narrative is an honest, joyous affirmation of one happily unconventional family finding itself.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family

Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.

 

About Maggie Nelson

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Maggie Nelson is the author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction, including Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (University of Iowa Press, 2007). She lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts.
 
Published May 5, 2015 by Graywolf Press. 160 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Cooking, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Argonauts
All: 9 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jan 15 2015

Ultimately, Harry speaks within these pages, as the death of Dodge’s mother and the birth of their son bring the book to its richly rewarding climax. A book that will challenge readers as much as the author has challenged herself.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jan 18 2016

Her narrative is an honest, joyous affirmation of one happily unconventional family finding itself.

Read Full Review of The Argonauts | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Szalai on May 10 2015

...Nelson’s book does the opposite. Like the Argo, her ship’s been renewed, and her voyage continues.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Lara Feigel on Mar 27 2016

Some readers may find it off-putting that there are quotations from philosophers, theorists and psychoanalysts on almost every page but there is something about the intimacy of Nelson’s relationship with these writers that stops it being pretentious...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Olivia Laing on Apr 23 2015

Generative and generous, this is a book that belongs on the shelves of anyone who desires, especially if what they desire is nothing short of freedom itself.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Tomas Hachard on May 07 2015

The instability gives the book life because it reflects a way of life. Nelson has no tolerance for restrictions, or shame in relation to her life decisions or anyone else's.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Patricia Hagen on Jun 17 2015

“The Argonauts” is a considered rejection of false choices, an intelligent, irritating, theoretical, intimate, funny, sad and exhilarating testament to the ever-fluid process of seeing out and getting out.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Sara Marcus on Apr 30 2015

Impressively for a work that was largely composed in sections, "The Argonauts" is a keenly conceived whole..."The Argonauts" is a magnificent achievement of thought, care and art.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Randon Billings Noble on May 04 2015

There’s gender fluidity, bodily fluids, the fluid nature of language, the ebb and flow of life and death. But at its center is always love, its meaning ever renewed, from its first utterance on a cold cement floor to the last, which, in this ongoing narrative, still has yet to be said.

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Reader Rating for The Argonauts
76%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 85 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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