Weird Fucks by Lynne Tillman

Lynne Tillman's new book is one to swallow whole in a single sitting

Book Review by Kirstyn Smith | 28 Sep 2021
  • Weird Fucks
Book title: Weird Fucks
Author: Lynne Tillman

So much of Weird Fucks is throwaway. The sentences, the sex, the love. The men who float, illusory, in and out of the protagonist’s life. The protagonist herself, a young woman fresh out of high school, fresh into college, freshly to Rome and Amsterdam and London. As such, the book feels like the desperate space between falling asleep and waking up.

Weird Fucks is a sort-of chronological series of snippets from an unnamed woman’s sex life. Set in the late 60s/early 70s, we’re vaguely made aware of events and people of the zeitgeist, but ultimately it’s all about the sex. She has no sense of attachment to anything or anyone, including herself. “I was a slum goddess and in college,” she writes. Later, “I’m an inmate with a pass for the night.” Then, “I found myself falling in love again. It is safer to stay indoors.”

But while it does feel throwaway, Tillman’s writing – short, staccato, brutal – centres on a woman who, crucially, doesn’t put men above herself. We’re left aching for more details, but she often moves on before we’re ready because the details – ergo, the men – aren’t important. And this in itself is important. A man she meets in Munich and lives with for a year in Amsterdam has an ephemeral send-off, “I rarely, if ever, thought of him again. This alone struck me as demeaning.” It is, which is the absolute charm of the book. 

It’s so transitory that it’s hard to know whether the lifestyle laid out within is aspirational or desperately lonely. But it is addictive. This is one to swallow whole in a single sitting, revelling in each fragmented, fascinating fuck.

Peninsula Press, 30 Sep, £8.99