Imaginary Women — Michael Westlake

front-westlakeTo enter into the fictional world of Imaginary Women is to revisit a lively cultural era where one read Jacques Lacan and Roland Barthes in the morning, went to the cinema in the afternoon, and danced to The Clash at night. There is an unnamed city in the novel where the thirteen fictional women deployed in its coordinate system of interlocking stories both diverge and reconnect in an intricate web of play and puzzles. Composed in short sections, Westlake freely reimagines the narrative language of popular genres such as film noir, science fiction and the political thriller, and the roles that imaginary women assume there. Popular cinema and love of film play important parts in the book’s structure and network of cultural references, as do some of the most vibrant critical movements of the 1980s, especially psychoanalysis and feminist theory. Westlake’s always humorous and insightful appropriation and reworking of popular conventions and language are often reminiscent of Thomas Pynchon, Italo Calvino, and Jorge Luis Borges.

“Combines film noir with Finnegans Wake and the underworld excursions of Persephone, Orpheus, Ariadne, and Osiris, sometimes directed by two unseen women, both named Anna . . . Punning develops into high art, generated by a wealth of literary allusions and quirky etymologies as well as by the symbolism of the I-Ching . . . wit, esoteric information and precise details about films and filmmaking.” — Publishers Weekly

Introduced by D.N. Rodowick

Release Date: September 19 2016.  Available from all booksellers and usual online retailers. ISBN: 9789811109690

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