PISSING IN A RIVER by Lorrie Sprecher

PISSING IN A RIVER

KIRKUS REVIEW

An American expat haunts the streets of London, dancing to the beat of a head full of bad wiring.

Please, please, please let her get what she wants: After mining the D.C. punk scene in her debut novel 20 years ago, this follow-up by Sprecher (Sister Safety Pin, 1994, etc.) revisits the post-punk/Britpop era of 1990s London with such detail and accuracy that readers may be able to hear chords hanging in the air. When we first meet our heroine, American teenager Amanda, she’s in a sorry state. Humming with post-suicidal anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder and deadened by a cocktail of psychotropic drugs, she hallucinates two British women: a stunning brunette named Melissa and a younger, punky girl. Determined to seek out the source of her visions, she books an adventurous study-abroad trip in London, where she starts to come out of her shell. After steadfastly earning a Ph.D. in English literature in America, the now 30-something out-and-proud lesbian throws her guitar on her back and returns to London as a busker. One awful night, she interrupts a rape in progress and saves Nick, a cocky Cockney woman with damage similar to Amanda’s. They seek shelter with Nick’s doctor friend, Melissa, with whom Amanda falls instantly, rapturously in love. As the potential couple tiptoes toward each other, Amanda continues to rock the Tube, engage with London’s dangerous activist movements, rail against injustice and struggle with mental health issues. “My brain spat out intrusive thoughts faster than I could neutralize them,” she says at one particularly bad moment. “I would have given just about anything if I could have unscrewed my head and taken if off for a few minutes.” It’s a wild ride buoyed by the voice of its screwed-up, kick-ass narrator and scored by the likes of Nirvana, The Clash, Patti Smith and even Heart. Dig the E.P. on the author’s website to hear Amanda’s tunes.

An honest and genuine DIY punk-rock lesbian love story from back in the day.

Pub Date: June 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-55861-852-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Feminist Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionJUST KIDS by Patti Smith
by Patti Smith
NonfictionPLEASE KILL ME by Legs McNeil
by Legs McNeil
NonfictionENGLAND'S DREAMING by Jon Savage
by Jon Savage