A Guardian Book of the Year
Maggie Nelson is one of the most electrifying writers at work in America today, among the sharpest and most supple thinkers of her generation – Olivia Laing
Bluets winds its way through depression, divinity, alcohol, and desire, visiting along the way with famous blue figures, including Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Yves Klein, Leonard Cohen and Andy Warhol. While its narrator sets out to construct a sort of ‘pillow book’ about her lifelong obsession with the colour blue, she ends up facing down both the painful end of an affair and the grievous injury of a dear friend. The combination produces a raw, cerebral work devoted to the inextricability of pleasure and pain, and to the question of what role, if any, aesthetic beauty can play in times of great heartache or grief.
Much like Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse, Bluets has passed between lovers in the ecstasy of new love, and been pressed into the hands of the heartbroken. Visceral, learned, and acutely lucid, Bluets is a slim feat of literary innovation and grace, never before published in the UK.
"Transcendent.... very inspiring. She's an amazing writer." -- Lorde * Irish Times * "Maggie Nelson... She's so much better than anything I've read for a long, long time." -- Karl Ove Knausgaard "The book that changed my life... it's just brilliant." -- Sophie Mackintosh * Guardian * "I remember where I was when I read each of Maggie Nelson's books in the same way I remember a place where I heard important news. Her words come, as though from a great distance, and strike incredibly close. I did not actually read Bluets, I think - I just let it hit me." -- Anne Enright "Maggie Nelson is one of the most electrifying writers at work in America today, among the sharpest and most supple thinkers of her generation. " -- Olivia Laing "[Nelson's] candour, also evident in The Argonauts, gives Bluets a turbo-charged vitality, precision and authenticity that frees her to reflect on the way female desire is too often sidelined or ignored.... In her dark excavation of grief, she has collected messages of great wisdom and powerful beauty." -- Gavin Francis * Guardian * "A gorgeous, eddying read." -- Claire-Louise Bennett "Nelson... looks sideways at her heartbreak, allowing for moments of piercing clarity as feelings come into focus. There is wisdom and beauty in this short work." -- Fiona Wilson * The Times * "A luminous meditation on the author's love for a single colour that displaces itself onto the grief prompted by the end of a relationship and the serious injury of a friend." -- Jenny Hendrix * Times Literary Supplement * "Arty, smart and gorgeous meditation on the color blue." * Time Out * "Bluets is a slim but intense volume dedicated to the colour blue, and to feeling blue. Nelson takes a Wittgensteinian form and fills it with feeling. In 240 loosely linked fragments she moves between memoir and analysis, from spiritual inquiry to erotic obsession... Beautiful." -- Tom Graham * Financial Times * "A real short-sharp punch in the heart. Truly sad and beautiful, it's a raw meditation on falling passionately in love with a colour." * Big Issue * "What could be more invented than a life story that reads like a novel? Bluets doesn't invent that way: its inventions are wilder, wiser (and more true) than that... each proposition is breathtaking." * Brick * "A syncopated arrangement of 240 prose poems collected across three years of slowly dwindling grief and heartbreak, it centres around the colour blue and how it helped to heal Nelson's pain." -- Isobel Thompson * A-List * "This discussion of the colour blue is a gorgeous read, almost religious in the way it defaults to the beautiful and the sublime." -- Anne Enright * Guardian * "When I want a sprawling, consuming book about love and loss, I turn to Maggie Nelson's Bluets. The compact hybrid book of literature, memoir, and poetry at only 99 pages in length lingers long after the cover is turned over." -- Sarah MacDonald * Vice * "I can't stop thinking about [Bluets]." -- Darci Phenix "Always beguiling, her writing is powerful, incisive and so singular that it defies categorization ... raw, honest and urgent... [Nelson] always prompt me to see some aspect of life very differently." -- Alice Rawsthorn * Observer *
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