Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681376943
Pages: 256
Publication Date: June 6, 2023

Lament for Julia

by Susan Taubes, introduction by Francesca Wade

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An NYRB Classics Original

Susan Taubes's unpublished novel Lament for Julia is the story of a young woman coming of age in the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of the sexless spirit or disembodied mind who is in charge of her development, or supposes itself to be so.
 
What is this spirit? An operator from on high (though hardly holy) and a narrative I and more than a bit of a voyeur and something quite unknown to Julia herself even as the spirit knows both a lot and very little of her, since her emotional and physical and sexual being are all baffling, if also fascinating, to an entity that is pure mind.
 
The I and Julia are a mismatched couple, set up for failure from the start, it would seem, even if they do somehow manage to deal with childhood and Mother and Father Klopps and ugly pink outfits and dances and crushes and the like for a while. After which come love and marriage, not necessarily in that order, which is where things start to go really wrong.
 
Lament for Julia appears here in English for the first time and is accompanied by a selection of Taubes's stories. A brilliant metaphorical exploration of woman's double consciousness that is also a masterpiece of comic shtick, it is a novel like no other, a book, as Samuel Beckett wrote to his French publisher, “full of erotic touches of an emphatic sort [and] raw language,” the product of an “authentic talent,” adding, “I shall reread it.”