cover image Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes

Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes

Anne Elizabeth Moore. Curbside Splendor, $16.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-940430-88-1

Sharp, shocking, and darkly funny, the essays in this sapient collection by cultural critic and performance artist Moore (Threadbare) expose the twisted logic at the core of Western capitalism and our stunted understanding of both its violence and the illnesses it breeds. Through such diverse avenues as the garment industry in Cambodia, modeling in New York, the history of the sanitary napkin disposal bag, the development of standard time, and the evolution of intellectual property law, Moore’s precise language, organized facts, and intuitive turns of thought uncover the casual and unremitting violence inflicted on the bodies of women by labor, marketing, and compulsive consumption. The book’s main topic, though, is illness, especially the rising incidence of autoimmune illnesses, of which Moore has personal and painful experience. In essays that look at drugs and treatment, her ability to diagnose the blind spots of Western medicine and the ableism of our very vocabulary for disease is as incisive and unsettling as the raw misogyny of the horror films she analyzes. Brainy and historically informed, this collection is less a rallying cry or a bitter diatribe than a series of irreverent and ruthlessly accurate jabs at a culture that is slowly devouring us. Agent: Dawn Frederick, Red Sofa Literary. (Apr.)