Brian Blanchfield

24 August 2017
192 pages


'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.

A rich and compelling personal account.
Blanchfield produces a string of exhilarating passages . . . His observations and interrogations urge us to contemplate, very carefully, the happenings that surround us. “Why is a still thing upsetting?” he asks on the first page of the first Proxies essay, “On Owls”. The simplicity of the question disguises its profundity, which eventually crept up on me as I was nearing the end of the book. It still hasn’t let me go, and nor has the book.
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.