The End of San Francisco by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

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Delivered in a free-form, associative writing style, Sycamore’s effort to exorcise the demons from her past is blunt, dynamic and original. A blisteringly honest portrait of a young, fast and greatly misunderstood life.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The End of San Francisco breaks apart the conventions of memoir to reveal the passions and perils of a life that refuses to conform to the rules of straight or gay normalcy. A budding queer activist escapes to San Francisco, in search of a world more politically charged, sexually saturated, and ethically consistent—this is the person who evolves into Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, infamous radical queer troublemaker, organizer and agitator, community builder, and anti-assimilationist commentator. Here is the tender, provocative, and exuberant story of the formation of one of the contemporary queer movement's most savvy and outrageous writers and spokespersons.

Using an unrestrained associative style to move kaleidoscopically between past, present, and future, Sycamore conjures the untidy push and pull of memory, exposing the tensions between idealism and critical engagement, trauma and self-actualization, inspiration and loss. Part memoir, part social history, and part elegy, The End of San Francisco explores and explodes the dream of a radical queer community and the mythical city that was supposed to nurture it.

"Mattilda is a dazzling writer of uncommon truths, a challenging writer who refuses to conform to conventionality. Her agitation is an inspiration."—Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

“Author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the artistic love child of John Genet and David Wojnarowicz, deconstructing language swathed in unbridled sensuality, while flinging readers into a disrupted, chaotic life of queer anarchy.”—Gay and Lesbian Review

"Bring on The End of San Francisco! And Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, whose new book has reinvented memoir without the predictable gloss of passive resolution. This book is undeniably brave and new, and the internal energy churning at its core is like nothing you've seen, heard or read before. I swear."—T Cooper, author of Real Man Adventures

"We hear so much about coming-of-age narratives that we seldom think about going-of-age—the shutting down and closure, the making sense of where we've been. Written with grace, reserve, and the honest tremblings that come when things matter, Mattilda shows us that The End of San Francisco is really the beginning of joy."—Daphne Gottlieb, author of 15 Ways to Stay Alive

"It would be easy to describe The End of San Francisco as a Joycean 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Queer' (although the book's intense stream of consciousness is reminiscent of the later, more experimental, Joyce)…but this is misleading. This journey of a life that begins in the professional upper-middle class (both parents are therapists) and the Ivy League and moves to hustling, drugs, activism—Sycamore was active in ACT UP and Queer Nation—and queer bohemian grunge, is profoundly American. At heart, Sycamore is writing about the need to escape control through flight or obliteration."—Michael Bronski, San Francisco Chronicle

"But, some of my favorite writers and people released books this year. Like Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's beautiful book about queerness and community and lack of and disappointment and marginalization and gentrification and sex, The End of San Francisco. God, I love that book, on a sentence level it is just heartbreaking."—Jessa Crispin, Bookslut

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the editor of four anthologies, including Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots, That's Revolting, and Nobody Passes, and two novels. She writes regularly for a variety of publications, including the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Bitch, Bookslut, Alternet, and Time Out New York, and is the reviews editor at the feminist magazine Make/shift. She lives in Seattle, WA.


 

About Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

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Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore: Called "startlingly bold and provocative" by Howard Zinn, described as "a cross between Tinkerbell and a honky Malcolm X with a queer agenda" by the Austin Chronicle, and named one of Utne Reader's "Visionaries" in 2008, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is undoubtedly one of America's most outrageous queer critics. She is the author of two novels, including, most recently, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights 2008), and the editor of four nonfiction anthologies, including Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity (Seal 2007) and That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation (Soft Skull 2004; expanded second edition 2008). Her writing appears regularly in a variety of publications, including the San Francisco Bay Guardian, AlterNet, Bitch, Utne Reader, Bookslut, Lambda Book Report, The Gay and Lesbian Review, and The Stranger. She is the reviews editor at the feminist magazine Make/shift, and has penned a monthly column in Maximumrocknroll for five years. She's gone on five extensive cross-country book tours, and guest-lectured at numerous universities, from Yale to Evergreen, UCLA to McGill.
 
Published March 8, 2013 by City Lights Publishers. 192 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The End of San Francisco
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Kirkus

Good
on Feb 21 2013

Delivered in a free-form, associative writing style, Sycamore’s effort to exorcise the demons from her past is blunt, dynamic and original. A blisteringly honest portrait of a young, fast and greatly misunderstood life.

Read Full Review of The End of San Francisco | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Kathleen Hennrikus on Mar 16 2013

The End of San Francisco recounts both joyful days and dark nights, and it’s an important socio-historical account by someone who’s been there and done all that.

Read Full Review of The End of San Francisco | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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