I ended the year with the Lovecraftian anthology Cthulhu Unbound Volume 2 (I think I liked the first one better), the scriptbook of Last Year at Marienbad, and the exceptionally excellent The City & The City by China Mieville.
2011 begins with Rat Girl: A Memoir, by Kristin Hersh.
Imagine you're an 18-year-old girl whose band is starting to generate a lot of buzz. But the songs aren't yours, they come from the music you've been hearing since you were hit by a car. One of your best friends tells stories about her days as a Hollywood star that are actually true. You have a breakdown, get diagnosed as bipolar, get medicated, get pregnant, quit the medication, and record your band's first album. That was 1985-86 for Kristin Hersh, and this book is based on the diary she kept that year.
I first heard Throwing Muses on Lonely is an Eyesore, a compilation album released in 1987 by 4AD, and loved their song, so I bought their first album as soon as I could. I bought every album they released, and most of Kristin's solo albums (and some by her stepsister and exbandmate Tanya Donelly and her band Belly, too). So I would already have been interested in this book. But I also remember reading an interview with Hersh circa the early '90s in which she discussed being diagnosed as, iirc, bipolar with schizoid affect, the same diagnosis an ex-girlfriend of mine had been given not long before. My ex was being treated for something else while we were dating, and evidently successfully -- she probably could have hidden it from me. But we never talked much about it and I never really got much insight into what it was like for her, and we've been out of touch for a long time. This book doesn't just tell a powerful and sometimes laugh out loud funny story that casts new light on the enigmatic lyrics of some Throwing Muses songs, it gives me a bit of a sense of what life may have been like for my ex.
Anyway, it's a great read that could captivate readers who've never heard of Hersh or the Muses and an essential read for those who have. And it's reminded me to put some Muses and Hersh albums back into rotation, whuch is a good thing.
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