cover image The Complete Madame Realism

The Complete Madame Realism

Lynne Tillman. Semiotext(e), $17.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-58435-190-0

Tillman’s (What Would Lynne Tillman Do?) latest genre-bending collection, which gathers writing from as early as 1984, introduces a new set of readers to three of her fictional personas: Madame Realism, Paige Turner, and the Translation Artist. Madame Realism, whose stories compose the bulk of the book, attends museums and gallery openings and muses not only on art but also on the people she sees and the conversations she overhears, leading her to question and theorize on the cultural and historical implications of everything she observes. With a wise and comical voice, Madame Realism allows readers to experience the world as she does. Her recurring interests and obsessions include history, memory, reality, and consciousness. Paige Turner, in her own way, shares these interests, but her vision is not as clear as Madame Realism’s; rather, she is lost in her world, questioning her beliefs and finding no concrete answers, allowing readers to feel her confusion. In the third and final section of the book, Tillman’s critical essays on artists such as Joan Jonas, Cindy Sherman, and David Wojnarowicz provide fresh readings on how we can interpret art. These witty, insightful stories and essays press readers to rethink how they interpret and process their beliefs in an entirely original way. A distinct pleasure. (Nov.)