Becca Rothfeld presents All Things Are Too Small | Book RSVP

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A glorious call to throw off restraint and balance in favor of excess, abandon, and disproportion, in essays ranging from such topics as mindfulness, decluttering, David Cronenberg, and consent.

In her debut essay collection, “brilliant and stylish” (The Washington Post) critic Becca Rothfeld takes on one of the most sacred cows of our time: the demand that we apply the virtues of equality and democracy to culture and aesthetics. The result is a culture that is flattened and sanitized, purged of ugliness, excess, and provocation.

Our embrace of minimalism has left us spiritually impoverished. We see it in our homes, where we bring in Marie Kondo to rid them of their idiosyncrasies and darknesses. We take up mindfulness to do the same thing to our heads, emptying them of the musings, thoughts, and obsessions that make us who we are. In the bedroom, a new wave of puritanism has drained sex of its unpredictability and therefore true eroticism. In our fictions, the quest for balance has given us protagonists who aspire only to excise their appetites. We have flipped our values, Rothfeld argues: while the gap between rich and poor yawns hideously wide, we strive to compensate with egalitarianism in art, erotics, and taste, where it does not belong and where it quashes wild experiments and exuberance.

Lush, provocative, and bitingly funny, All Things Are Too Small is a subversive soul cry to restore imbalance, obsession, gluttony, and ravishment to all domains of our lives.


"It seemed at one time that the legendary New York intellectuals and the luminaries of Partisan Review were definitively matchless and could have no successors or replicas. Becca Rothfeld alone is refutation: she not only equals their prowess, she ventures beyond their boundaries into queries never before dared or dreamed. There is no aspect of contemporary civilization or literary engagement that eludes her eye and her voice — nor could Lionel Trilling have predicted so elastic a body of insights."
—Cynthia Ozick, NBCC- and PEN-award winning author of (most recently) Antiquities

"These essays spring from a philosopher's voracious, brilliantly synthesizing mind, and from a poet's love for language that leans always toward rapture."
—Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness

"Becca Rothfeld has an unsparing wit, a crystalline style, and a berserk appetite; she is not only one of America's most invariably interesting young cultural critics, but among our most generous and profound perverts. All Things Are Too Small is both a tribute to surplus and a seigneurial example of it—each essay here overspills its banks into the next, and the book sums to a rich, dazzling, and nonetheless precise entertainment."
—Gideon Lewis-Kraus, author of A Sense of Direction

Price: $27.99