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Indelicacy
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A sublime tale of art, power and privilege from a rising star in American literary fiction.

About the Author

Amina Cain is the author of two collections of short fiction, Creature and I Go to Some Hollow. Her essays and short stories have appeared in n+1, Paris Review Daily, BOMB, Full Stop, Vice and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles and is a contributing editor at BOMB.

Reviews

'There are no stakes, no rising action, no arc. Just a wild kind of lostness that's as alluring as it is unsettling.' * Los Angeles Times *
'Cain takes a lot of risks in her book by redefining plot and creating so many narrators who are unknowable and generally unfamiliar. But the risks pay off in sheer beauty, and in Creature, she has created a beautiful monster indeed.' * Collagist *
'In Indelicacy we meet a woman who spends time studying landscape paintings and then walking inside the landscapes where she lives. She looks at a landscape then moves inside another, and as we read it begins to seem that the landscapes in paintings and in fiction are eerily the same. In a deeply pleasing way, reading this novel is a bit like standing in a painting, a masterful study of light and dark, inside and out, freedom and desire. Amina Cain is one of my favorite writers. I loved reading this book.' * Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First *
'With simplicity and wisdom, Amina Cain's Indelicacy strips away the clutter of the modern novel, leaving only her narrator's concentrated attention and yearning. As a tribute to the history of its own form, Indelicacy manages to expand our ideas of both the classic and the contemporary.' * Tim Kinsella, music-maker and author of Sunshine on an Open Tomb *
'Acutely observed, Indelicacy is an exquisite jewel box of a novel with the passion and vitality found only in such rare and necessary works as The Hour of the Star and The Days of Abandonment. Through this timeless examination of solitude, art and friendship, Amina Cain announces herself as one of the most intriguing writers of our time.' * Patty Yumi Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace *
'Indelicacy is a novel like the tolling of a great bell. It will move your heart. Amina Cain's writing is the rarest kind: it creates not only new scenes and characters, but new feelings.' * Sofia Samatar, author of Winged Histories *
'Bewitching...Cain's concentrated, subtle, and intriguing portrait of an evolving artist resolutely rejecting gender and class roles, with its subtle nods to Jean Rhys, Clarice Lispector, and Octavia Butler, explores the risks and rewards of a call to create and self-liberate.' * Booklist (starred review) *
'With its short, spare sentences, Cain's writing seems simple on the surface but it is deeply observant of the human condition, female friendships, and art. A short, elegant tale about female desire and societal expectations.' * Kirkus Reviews *
'Amina Cain redefines strangeness and freedom in this beautiful and unusual novel, which resembles fairy tales and ghost stories but feels intensely contemporary.' * Alejandro Zambra, author of Ways of Going Home *
'Amina Cain's diligence, patience, and clarity of vision are unparalleled. This is a writer profoundly aware of the impact and import of silence. Her sentences echo long after they've landed on the page.' * Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, author of Call Me Zebra *
'I was spellbound by Amina Cain's Indelicacy, partly because it is a lucid novel about human relationships, the soul, art, and change; partly because it is an intelligent yet raw tale about what ruptures are required to grow room for oneself; partly because of its witty juxtaposition of good and bad; but mostly because it is deeply original, like nothing I've ever read before.' * Gunnhild Oyehaug, author of Wait, Blink *
'Reading Amina Cain's Indelicacy is akin to donning magnifying spectacles that distill a woman's past into modern reality. These lucid and uncanny lenses remain on the eye far beyond her pages.' * Josephine Foster, musical artist *
'Amina Cain is a phenomenal writer. I adore her work, and sensibility. Indelicacy isn't merely a book, it's a world; a world I wanted to live in, forever. Its near-and-far atmosphere is partly due to Cain's unfazed handling of discrepant essences and qualities. Arch, yet warm; aspiring and impervious; confiding and enigmatic; reposing and intrepid; Cain has conjured a protagonist who purged my mind and filled my heart.' * Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond *
'I read it slowly, in a kind of reverie, wanting to savour every page. It is so exquisite and precise that I felt I wanted to read it constantly, to live inside it . . . A completely absorbing, luminous account of a woman inhabiting her life and creativity.' * Megan Hunter, author of The End We Start From *
'What would a Vermeer look like painted by its subject? Measured, intense, precise, explosive, sensual, violent, mesmerising.' * Joanna Walsh, author of Break.up *
'The story of a marriage is generally meant to impose order on the novel, to subordinate each moment to a larger design. In Indelicacy, this story finds itself subordinate to other forms of female pleasure and desire: friendship, sex, dancing, writing, daydreaming. Vitoria's detours, her attention to her own inattention, to the still, sensuous details of daily living, become gentle acts of defiance-against not only the marriage plot but plot altogether.' * Bookforum *
'Cain's prose vibrates with fear and wonder. This is a novel I read three times slowly, basking in each phrase.' * Literary Hub *
'A sort of arthouse Cinderella story...Each detail haunts with the way it solidly exists in the midst of a conjured dream world.' * LA Review of Books *
'[A] chilling, beautiful novel about a woman who marries a near stranger, expecting their life together to deliver the freedom and creativity she craves. What she learns is not what you think it will be-and it serves as the perfect starting point for a memorable conversation.' N * ew York Times *
'Written with an elegance that might remind the reader of the classics of the late nineteenth century...Indelicacy is the kind of novel that creeps up on the reader, with a depth and complexity of ideas that belie its length.' * Readings Monthly *
'Haltingly beautiful...Indelicacy reverberates with an inner, luxe-hazed reflection of moral consciousness.' * NewCity Lit *
'Cain's jewel-like book catches the light from many angles: Indelicacy is at once a playful and enigmatic meditation on art, a fable about gender and class and how they influence the way we read the pursuit of power, as well as a glittering engagement with writers from Jean Rhys to Jean Genet.' * Age/SMH *
'Though Indelicacy does not announce itself as autofiction, it shares with autofiction what I find to be the most fundamental aspects of the genre: the act of writing becomes inextricable from the story being told.' * Fiction Writers Review *
'Cain works with insight and finely crafted writing, making Indelicacy perfect for fans of Virginia Woolf and Michael Cunningham.' * Shelf Awareness *
'A serious, humorous and wildly beautiful novel.' * Better Read Than Dead *
'This sparse, elliptical novel finds new complexities in the familiar conflict between creative independence and the lures of traditional domesticity...Stripped of all inessential details, the narrative has the simplicity of a parable-one whose images lodge themselves uneasily in the mind.' * New Yorker *
'Cain's writing is succinct in a way that conjures Dickinson or Duras, with her swift and deliberate delivery. Reading Indelicacy feels like inhabiting a painting. Or to play with the metaphor that writing a book is like building a house, my experience of reading Amina Cain is akin to wandering through a series of exquisite rooms where I'm surprised by a decisively placed fixture or an oblique passageway. They are rooms I'd like to return to again and again.' * Millions *
'A strange, haunting, unusual novel...[Amina Cain] assembles her narrative with sparse and lateral prose. Hard to put down and impossible forget.' * SA Weekend *
'A taut, tender evocation of the power of art in an existence driven by work...A novel of smooth surfaces and engulfing depths.' * Australian *
'Written before any hints of a pandemic, Indelicacy includes a particularly vivid description of the isolation and introspection of lockdown...Intense, condensed writing...[The novel is] a form of inspired literary mindfulness.' * Canberra Times *
'[Amina Cain's] bone-clean prose creates a sense of immersion in a story that feels both mythic and true...A woman's search for creativity is not a new subject, yet Cain has made it so.' * Guardian *
'A thing of real delicacy, with a fine, distilled quality to the writing, every word precisely chosen, precisely placed...There's a slyness to Cain's writing that cuts through, and makes the tale increasingly engrossing. By the end, you walk in step with her heroine as she finds her own path towards freedom.' * Observer *
'Indelicacy has a timeless and slippery quality that keeps the reader hovering on a precipice...This book made a quiet impact on me at first, but it is one I keep coming back to as the year draws to an end.' * Readings *

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