Released on 01 December 2016.

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A Memoir in Twenty-four Attempts

4.28 based on 205 ratings & 34 reviews on


'A rich and compelling personal account.' Financial Times

In this memoir in twenty-four essays, Blanchfield focuses on a startling miscellany of topics – Foot Washing, Dossiers, Br’er Rabbit, Housesitting, Man Roulette, the Locus Amoenus – that begin to unpack the essayist himself and his life’s rotating concerns: sex and sexuality, poetry and poetics, and his upbringing in working-class, Primitive Baptist, North Carolina.

In the media

I read . . . Proxies . . . in three sittings, with a thrilling flutter in my gut. The essays are intimate, profound, and always startling; the language feels recalibrated, somehow, in syntax and cadence, a kind of found music; and the book as a total project is unlike anything I’ve read before.
Oxford American
Mr. Blanchfield's more high-flown reflections [are] slyly used in juxtaposition with the plain-spoken memories of this 'working class white boy' from North Carolina . . . One becomes acclimated to, and impressed by, the way he transitions from, say, an etymological investigation of billiards terminology to the way his father shot pool.
New York Times
The most brilliant book I’ve read in years. Anyone who has been amazed (and rightly so) by Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts should read this book post-haste.