Aliens & Anorexia by Chris Kraus
I Love Dick author Chris Kraus' latest book to hit the UK covers a kaleidoscope of subjects with empathy, vulnerability and wit
First published in 2000, Aliens & Anorexia is the third book by Chris Kraus to be published in the UK, following the success of I Love Dick and Torpor. Part memoir-novel and part cultural criticism, the book loosely follows Kraus' attempt to get her lo-fi experimental film Gravity & Grace off the ground at the Berlin Film Festival, while exploring the lives and philosophies of Simone Weil and Ulrike Meinhof and how they relate to her own life.
It would be wrong to call this Aliens & Anorexia’s narrative or plot; instead, it’s simply a jumping-off point as Kraus dives into a kaleidoscope of subjects covering anorexia, S&M, the act of creation, gender and relationships.
Aliens & Anorexia is a Russian doll of ideas and theories that are both unworldly and devastatingly relevant. At the heart of the book is the motif of the isolated and unloved alien and, for Kraus, that’s French philosopher Weil, whose book Gravity and Grace was the inspiration behind her film. This book is a manifesto for failing as an artist and a spaceship to rescue Kraus’s alien. It’s a difficult and unwieldy book, and like her earlier, better-known I Love Dick, it’s full of Kraus’s characteristic deep empathy, vulnerability and wit.