Publication Date: 05/04/2018 ISBN: 9780571326211 Category:

To Throw Away Unopened

Viv Albertine

Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 05/04/2018 ISBN: 9780571326211 Category:


Out of stock



‘Fierce, direct, unashamed. She masks nothing … Scythes through the myths, the distortions, the adornments and finds the rich, distinctive stories underneath.’ The Sunday Times

‘A chronicle of outsiderness … Searingly honest … A painstaking and painful dissection of familial fallout.’ The Observer

What was I fighting for? Even now I’m not sure. Something so old and so deep, it has no words, no shape, no logic.

Every memoir is a battle between reality and invention – but in her follow up to Clothes, Music, Boys, Viv Albertine has reinvented the genre with her unflinching honesty.

To Throw Away Unopened is a fearless dissection of one woman’s obsession with the truth – the truth about family, power, and her identity as a rebel and outsider. It is a gaping wound of a book, both an exercise in blood-letting and psychological archaeology, excavating what lies beneath: the fear, the loneliness, the anger. It is a brutal expose of human dysfunctionality, the impossibility of true intimacy, and the damage wrought upon us by secrets and revelations, siblings and parents.

Yet it is also a testament to how we can rebuild ourselves and come to face the world again. It is a portrait of the love stories that constitute a life, often bringing as much pain as joy. With the inimitable blend of humour, vulnerability, and intelligence that makes Viv Albertine one of our finest authors working today, To Throw Away Unopened smashes through layers of propriety and leads us into a new place of savage self-discovery.


Publisher Review

"Oh Viv Albertine! I salute you. Such honesty!"--Nigella Lawson "Forget Katniss And Tris - Viv Albertine Is Your New Hero." "A fully realized portrait of its author."--Rolling Stone "Viv Albertine, I love your book VERY badly. It's amazing."--Caitlin Moran "To Throw Away Unopened is enthusiastically chaotic...on the page she is wry and vibrant..."--New York Times "In her second memoir, the influential rocker addresses life after punk. Albertine's publishing debut, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. (2014), earned widespread acclaim beyond music circles. Its unflinching honesty and street-wise feminism struck responsive chords as she recounted the formative years of British punk rock and her standard-bearing role in the Slits, a female band that demanded to be taken seriously within punk's male-dominated hierarchy. Now that Albertine's music career appears to be over--or is at least winding down--she has become a writer, with this second book required to follow the breakthrough success of the first. Here, the author dwells little on the music through which most previously knew her--and which she covered so well in her previous book--and more on her roles, mother, daughter, and sister, among others. As Albertine prepared for the book party to launch her memoir, she learned that her 95-year-old mother was on her deathbed, so she rushed with her daughter to be by her side. There, she joined her younger sister, with whom she was once much closer. The two engaged in a horrific battle at their mother's bedside, a hair-pulling, blood-letting fight to the finish between two women in their mid-50s whose years of bottled-up tension was just waiting to explode: " 'You're mad, ' said [sister] Pascal. She was right. I was mad. Completely insane. A deranged, murderous, certifiable, raging lunatic." The narrative intersperses short paragraphs detailing the mother's death as the sisters battled between slightly longer reminiscences about growing up together as their family was falling apart and how their mother did her best to keep them estranged from their father. Albertine also quotes at length from her father's diary and her mother's testimony on the dissolution of that marriage, which she discovered after the death of each, and which frequently contradicted each other (and sometimes her own memory). "Truth is splintered," she concludes. Not the cultural resource that her first memoir was, but still as brave and engaging in the writing." --Kirkus Reviews

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