Suite for Barbara Loden

By Nathalie Leger

Available

Description

Fiction. Translated from the French by Natasha Lehrer and Cecile Menon. "I believe there is a miracle in Wanda," wrote Marguerite Duras of the only film American actress Barbara Loden ever wrote and directed. "Usually, there is a distance between representation and text, subject and action. Here that distance is completely eradicated." It is perhaps this "miracle"--the seeming collapse of fiction and fact--that has made Wanda (1970) a subject of fascination for artists from Isabelle Huppert to Rachel Kushner to Kate Zambreno, and that set acclaimed French writer Nathalie Leger on an obsessive quest across continents, into archives, and through mining towns of Pennsylvania trying to get closer to the film and its maker. SUITE FOR BARBARA LODEN is the magnificent result. Moving contrapuntally between biography and auto-fiction, film criticism and anecdote, fact and speculation, SUITE FOR BARBARA LODEN is a stunning meditation on knowledge and self-knowledge, on the surfaces of life and art, and how we come to truth--a kind of truth--not through facts alone but through acts of the imagination.

Product Details

Price: $16.00
Publisher: Dorothy a Publishing Project
Published Date: October 17, 2016
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 5.5 X 0.5 X 6.8 inches | 0.35 pounds
ISBN: 9780997366600
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Nathalie Leger is an award-winning French author, as well as an editor, archivist, and curator. SUITE FOR BARBARA LODEN won the prestigious Prix du livre Inter 2012, voted for by readers across France.

Reviews

"[A] mesmerizing work of unexpected beauty." Book Riot"
"I am not a movie buff in fact, I rarely watch movies, especially the 'important' ones but I realize I love reading descriptions of film scenes. There's a kind of inert vividness to these descriptions, a scrim between me and the dramatic moment, that I find almost erotic. Leger intersperses descriptions of Wanda with passages about how she came to know this movie, how she tried and tried to understand Barbara Loden herself. Woven into these, too, are autobiographical asides. One begins: 'Once upon a time the man I loved reproached me for my apparent passivity with other men.' The result of these combined fragments is delicious and mysterious. Edan Lepucki, "My Year in Reading," The Millions"
"Brilliant little book." Valeria Luiselli"
"Beautifully translated." TLS"
"Here, now, is a remarkable new book that does everything--biography, criticism, film history, memoir, and even fiction, all at once, all out in front...In her combination of the conversational and the incantatory, the fragmentary and the infinite, Leger captures something of [Marguerite] Duras's own tones and moods, yet her approach to Loden and her appreciation of 'Wanda' are entirely her own."--The New Yorker
"Assigned to write the entry about Wanda (1970), Barbara Loden's art-house movie, for a film encyclopedia, Leger let herself get lost. The result gracefully melds criticism, fiction, and autobiography, and is a powerful example of how summary, channeled through the most personal of perspectives, can be a form of art."--Harper's Magazine
"When I set out to review Suite for Barbara Loden, I realized I didn't have much to say, exactly, beyond what Leger says. I wanted to show how she shows how one woman's experience is filtered through another, collapses into another. And I wanted to show how we (women) connect with Wanda--even extraordinary, glamorous, intellectual women like Leger or Loden, and even women generations younger than Wanda, like myself--how the book sucks in every woman who approaches it."--The Rumpus
"What is initially Leger's explicit hesitance to create a biography that does not do Loden justice is transformed into her own story, one of how the lives of women seep into one another."--Los Angeles Review of Books
"[A] beautiful and intimate mixed portrait of Loden, Wanda, and Leger."--Small Press Book Review
"Moving descriptions of Loden's performance in Wanda dot the narration as Leger struggles to reveal joy or pain Loden may have hidden, beyond her early work as a pin-up girl, her marriage to Elia Kazan, and a 1964 Tony Award for her role in Arthur Miller's After the Fall. Translators Lehrer and Menon give Leger's voice immense verve in English as her small task becomes an obsession."--Kirkus Reviews
"I am not a movie buff--in fact, I rarely watch movies, especially the 'important' ones--but I realize I love reading descriptions of film scenes. There's a kind of inert vividness to these descriptions, a scrim between me and the dramatic moment, that I find almost erotic. Leger intersperses descriptions of Wanda with passages about how she came to know this movie, how she tried and tried to understand Barbara Loden herself. Woven into these, too, are autobiographical asides. One begins: 'Once upon a time the man I loved reproached me for my apparent passivity with other men.' The result of these combined fragments is delicious and mysterious."--Edan Lepucki, "My Year in Reading," The Millions
"Leger jump-cuts through time and space with the expertise of a movie director."--Joanna Walsh, author of Vertigo
"I hope this book inspires a new hybrid form of film criticism, where private excavation is also cooperative creativity."--Brad Johnson, Diesel Books (The Literary Hub "Great Bookseller Fall 2016 Preview")
"In Suite for Barbara Loden, Leger enacts a kind of double excavation in her desire 'to excavate a miniature model of modernity' that is Barbara Loden, an unearthing that has no teleological endpoint because it continues beyond the scope of the text being written. This excavation, indeed, must engage with the many texts that inform it, shaping the journey and, in effect, refracting the writing subject back on to herself--a fantasmatic act of the other becoming the self."--Music & Literature
"Beautifully translated."--TLS
"A moving, subtle novel about the need to create."--Le Monde
"[A] mesmerizing work of unexpected beauty."--Book Riot
"Inventive and affecting, it takes both the novel and the biography to new and interesting places."--Eimear McBride
"Brilliant little book."--Valeria Luiselli