The Complete Fear of Kathy Acker
136 pp., 5 x 8 in, 2 b&w illus.
- Published: June 6, 2023
- Publisher: Semiotext(e)
The first complete edition of this notorious novel which maps the 1980s anarchic underground of Los Angeles.
Published in excerpts over almost four decades, Jack Skelley's “secretly legendary” novel is at once an homage to the thrillingly inventive spirit of Kathy Acker's cut-up novels and a definitive history of LA's underground culture of the mid-1980s.
Composed in bursts, Fear of Kathy Acker depicts Los Angeles through the eyes of a self-mocking narrator. Shifting styles and personae as he moves between Venice and Torrance, punk clubs and shopping malls, Disneyland and Dodger Stadium, Jack Skelley pushes the limits of language and identity while pursuing—much as Kathy Acker did—a quixotic literary mix of discipline and anarchy. In this adrenalized, cosmic, and comic chronicle of Los Angeles, Skelley's “real life” friends make cameo appearances alongside pop archetypes from Madonna to Billy Idol.
This first-ever complete edition of the book includes new essays, playlists, and a map of the 1980s Los Angeles in which its manic protagonist lives and loves.
Fear of Kathy Acker is one of the great lost masterpieces of '80s experimental fiction. That it's no longer an inaccessible legend is huge.
Jack Skelley pours it on like sometimes blam blam blam like the riff in "Death Valley '69" but mostly with a surfer's rhythm like the cool throb of his guitar, his writing the poetics of pink love and punk pool splash action, the sound I adore.
Despite the dislike of seeing my own name, you're really a good writer—never what's expected.
Deft, deadpan, dreadful, deliberate, delirious. Perfect adult bedtime reading.
White Hot Magazine