For more than 30 years, S corresponds with her first love, J. There is one story she does not tell: one about three men and an alley. She learns a new story: one in which she is unable to leave the two blocks surrounding her house, and unable to tell J exactly what happened to her.
Isolated by trauma and depression, S finds a way back into her skin through the strangers she meets online for sex. The retellings of her adventures titillate J, who urges her on to more encounters.
As in 1001 Nights, this is a story made of stories: S’s own stories are interrupted and overwritten by similar, culturally reified stories. S’s life becomes scenes from everything from The Graduate and The Story of O to the words of Charles Manson and the Bible.
What emerges in words, invocations and collage is a grasping at presence and absence in the age of the internet: to be read in real time is life, and the blank screen is death.
* * *
"Daphne Gottlieb is a feral genius, who breaks into your lockbox of insecurities and traumas, and crafts them into a self-portrait of America. Beautiful, deadly, but never less than honest. You're in the best pair of wrong hands."
—Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky
"This book killed me. I would say something like, ’This book is a heady mixture of Eros and Thanatos,’ but that would perhaps make you miss the immediacy, the pure sensuality of the words on the page. So instead I will say for those who understand love and death get all mixed together, for all those who have howled someone's name into the winds at night, this book will speak to you. Daphne Gottlieb understands the heart is sacred and, like all the good martyrs, will gladly set hers on fire to help you feel yours burn."
—Jessa Crispin, author, Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto and The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries
“To call Saint 1001 a novel is to call the novel out, to call the novel in, and to call the novel on those nights when you can’t sleep, and you just want someone to talk to. It’s a fable, a tall tale, a murder mystery, a fever dream, a sex journal, a police report, a renegade philosopher’s stolen interior monologues, a feminist scream, a mental health crisis, an unholy gasp for breath, and a mashup of everything from Bambi to the Buzzcocks, Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Britney Spears to Freud, Tolstoy, The Diary of Anne Frank, and the Bible. If Kathy Acker stole the text to unmake it, Daphne Gottlieb steals it back to re-break it.”
—Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of Sketchtasy
“Saint 1001 is not to be explained. Rather, it is a work that demands, urgently, to be experienced. Daphne Gottlieb has delivered a stunning epistle of trauma, survival, broken love, broken sex that might seem familiar, yet s not remotely like anything we’ve let ourselves see. Through its music, its reverence, and most of all its painfully gorgeous intelligence, Saint 1001 accomplishes something very few works can do – it reaches beyond the page, into our waking hours, transforming our mundane world into the mythic, not through any naïve assertion, but with naked, undeniable evidence.”
—Ryka Aoki, author of He Mele A Hilo, Seasonal Velocities, and Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul
“Daphne Gottlieb’s new novel Saint 1001 gristles and trembles and shines! This triumphant epistolary book rockets through the decades and fulfills the varied promises of Gottlieb’s signature embodied & experimental prowess. Obsession, desire, loss, work & the word all meet up in these pages to duke it out and teach the reader a little something about having a body in this crumbling world.”
—sam sax, author of MADNESS and Bury It
by Daphne Gottlieb
$21.95, paperback, 264 pp