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Suite for Barbara Loden by  Nathalie Léger

Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger

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The second in Nathalie Léger's acclaimed genre-defying triptych of books about the struggles and obsessions of women artists.

"I believe there is a miracle in Wanda," wrote Marguerite Duras of the only film American actress Barbara Loden ever wrote and directed. "Usually, there is a distance between representation and text, subject and action. Here that distance is completely eradicated." It is perhaps this "miracle"--the seeming collapse of fiction and fact--that has made Wanda (1970) a cult classic, and a fascination of artists from Isabelle Huppert to Rachel Kushner to Kate Zambreno. For acclaimed French writer Nathalie Léger, the mysteries of Wanda launched an obsessive quest across continents, into archives, and through mining towns of Pennsylvania, all to get closer to the film and its maker. Suite for Barbara Loden is the magnificent result.


"With mirrors and lenses, with echoes and silences, Léger's books suggest that we may write and perform the stories of our lives, but our roles have also been written for us, and have already been performed by other women, whose experiences we may recognize as our own. In the end, the most original performance here is Léger's, and it is undeniably virtuosic." -Eula Biss, The New Yorker

"In Léger's hands, desolation can reveal a woman in all her multiplicity--in her ugliness and abasement and determined self-destruction, seemingly ground down to the nubs of her sorrow, but ultimately emerging with a strange richness, full of haunted persistence, droll knowingness, untamed desires, and hardscrabble resilience." -Leslie Jamison, Bookforum

"Here, now, is a remarkable new book that does everything--biography, criticism, film history, memoir, and even fiction, all at once, all out in front. . . . In her combination of the conversational and the incantatory, the fragmentary and the infinite, Léger captures something of [Marguerite] Duras's own tones and moods, yet her approach to Loden and her appreciation of 'Wanda' are entirely her own." -Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"Assigned to write the entry about Wanda (1970), Barbara Loden's art-house movie, for a film encyclopedia, Léger let herself get lost. The result gracefully melds criticism, fiction, and autobiography, and is a powerful example of how summary, channeled through the most personal of perspectives, can be a form of art." -Christine Smallwood, Harper's

"Inventive and affecting, it takes both the novel and the biography to new and interesting places." -Eimear McBride

"Brilliant little book." -Valeria Luiselli

Publisher: Dorothy a Publishing Project
ISBN: 978-0997366600
Pages: 128