cover image Things Are Against Us

Things Are Against Us

Lucy Ellmann. Biblioasis, $18.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-77196-433-3

In this offbeat essay collection, novelist Ellmann (Ducks, Newburyport) addresses complex systemic ills alongside petty grievances in an acerbic and hilarious litany of complaints. The title essay features a tirade against “things” that are constantly being lost or broken or otherwise creating a nuisance, and is punctuated with the personified hijinks of various objects: “Rugs grab you and knock you over whenever they can. Needles prick you. They sit in the sewing box waiting patiently to prick you some day.” Several essays contend with sexism, including “Three Strikes,” which calls for women to institute a sex and work strike until the demand of “female supremacy” is met (Ellmann draws from historical examples to prove its efficacy along the way). Elsewhere, Ellmann rails against air travel, bras, and electricity. Readers of Ducks, Newburyport will be familiar with her expansive writing style, which here manifests as a plethora of footnotes, some of which point to sources for further reading or illustrate the author’s points, while others are tangents on ancillary topics (such as the “spiraling vaginas” of fruit flies) and can occasionally be disorienting. Nevertheless, fans of feminist satire will delight in these rants and ruminations. Agent: David Godwin, David Godwin Assoc. (Sept.)