The University of Pennsylvania by Caren Beilin

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Synopsis

Fiction. Olivia Knox has womb duplicatum, a rare affliction of continuous menstruation. Blood—it is not just blood! —tumbles unstoppably during her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. This problem of excess—blood full of marbles and beans, something thick enough to be black, sometimes sick enough to be brown, sometimes wild, almost violet again—foregrounds Beilin's revision (queer and erotic) of Pennsylvania's foundations. Tracing a relationship between George Fox and William Penn, Bethlehem's industrial boom, Jewish suburbia and Amish farming, and the origins of surgical education in America, THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA convenes at the University of Pennsylvania, where Olivia Knox confronts a surgical solution.

"Caren Beilin's prose isn't like other people's prose—or other people's anything. Her engine is the sentence, but it runs on fuel from other worlds. THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA is unhinged, just the thing to remove your skin. Everything will feel intense because it is. How many books can reroute your dreams like this?"—Ander Monson

"A book from the future to be savored again and again."—Anne Marie Wirth Cauchon

"No one writes like Caren Beilin. If Angela Carter got commingled with Gary Lutz in Lara Glenum's Miraculating Machine, they might have produced the kinds of sentences found in THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. Part family gothic, part queer historiography, Beilin's book conjures a Pennsylvania made of butter, gelatin, and blood, a murderzone in which bleeding girls and boneless horses, patricides and founding fathers interpenetrate, become portmanteau creatures that gorge on taboo. Prepare to feel language at its most vandalous, its most painfully exciting. I had to read parts aloud, to use my mouth as a release valve, or I would have exploded on the spot. Finally, language has an orgasm."—Joanna Ruocco

"The novel's prose is astonishing. An important new voice has just entered the literary party. Listen."—Lance Olsen
 

About Caren Beilin

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Published November 15, 2014 by Noemi Press. 86 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The University of Pennsylvania

The Kenyon Review

As an English major, Olivia has to read some Tolstoy and one day as she changes her many tampons, “she pulled up her underwear and flushed without looking, the burbling violet pond so quickly created there in the bowl, the used tampons bobbing like the bloated limbs of the dead in War and Peace, ...

Dec 31 2016 | Read Full Review of The University of Pennsylvania