Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration (Paperback)

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Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration By David Wojnarowicz Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

These smart, lyrical essays, written under the doomy shadow of the AIDS crisis and the Reagan-Bush era, are some of the most beautiful you could possibly hope to read. Wojnarowicz moves seamlessly from meditations on a desolate life on the road, to a New York of junkies and Hudson-side hook ups, to polemics on the failures of government. Read this slowly. Savour every paragraph.

— Madeleine

David Wojnarowicz is one of the most revolutionary thinkers and artists to come out of 80s queer art scene, and one of the most forgotten. A striking memoir-manifesto that is overflowing with anger for the world as it is and an overwhelming desire for the world as it could be, Close to the Knives, for better or for worse, deeply resonates today.

— Gage


In Close to the Knives, David Wojnarowicz gives us an important and timely document: a collection of creative essays -- a scathing, sexy, sublimely humorous and honest personal testimony to the "Fear of Diversity in America." From the author's violent childhood in suburbia to eventual homelessness on the streets and piers of New York City, to recognition as one of the most provocative artists of his generation -- Close to the Knives is his powerful and iconoclastic memoir. Street life, drugs, art and nature, family, AIDS, politics, friendship and acceptance: Wojnarowicz challenges us to examine our lives -- politically, socially, emotionally, and aesthetically.

About the Author

David Wojnarowicz was an American painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and AIDS activist prominent in the New York City art world. He was born on September 14, 1954. He died of AIDS on July 22, 1992.

Praise For…

"David Wojnarowicz is brilliantly attuned to American talk and responsive to the moods and innovations of society's truants. He also has the best conscience of any writer I know. This fierce, erotic, haunting, truthful book should be given to every teenager immediately." -- Dennis Cooper

"Wojnarowicz's writing fairly smokes with acrid ironies. It's passionate and personal." -- New York

"Everyone should read Close to the Knives to understand the overall political agenda behind suffering, whether that suffering occurs because of a dysfunctional family, religion, or government. Wojnarowicz explores all of his painful life experiences as a plea for all of us to become more compassionate and caring human beings. This isn't just David's story, it's our story, our nation's story." -- Karen Finley
Product Details
ISBN: 9780679732273
ISBN-10: 0679732276
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: May 7th, 1991
Pages: 288
Language: English
Series: Vintage