About The Book
A masterpiece of surrealist fiction, steeped in controversy upon its first publication in 1984, Blood and Guts in High School is the book that established Kathy Acker as the preeminent voice of post-punk feminism. With 2017 marking the 70th anniversary of her birth, as well as the 10th year since her death this transgressive work of philosophical, political, and sexual insight—with a new introduction by Chris Kraus—continues to become more relevant than ever before.
In the Mexican city of Merida, ten-year-old Janey lives with Johnny—her “boyfriend, brother, sister, money, amusement, and father”—until he leaves her for another woman. Bereft, Janey travels to New York City, plunging into an underworld of gangs and prostitution. After escaping imprisonment, she flees to Tangiers where she meets Jean Genet, and they begin a torrid affair that will lead Janey to her demise. Fantastical, sensual, and fearlessly radical, this hallucinatory collage is both a comic and tragic portrait of erotic awakening.
“Blood and Guts in High School saved my life . . . this novel was the central most articulate and precise piece of literature I read during the decade in which I most wanted to kill myself . . . The girl in this story had more agency and voice than any girl I’d ever read or would read in my entire life.” —Lydia Yuknavitch
“Kathy Acker’s writing is virtuoso, maddening, crazy, so sexy, so painful, and beaten out of a wild heart that nothing can tame. Acker is a landmark writer.” —Jeanette Winterson
“No writer I know is more audacious than Kathy Acker, whose anarchic wit drives a thoroughgoing attack on conventions and complacencies of all sorts. Not unlike Gertrude Stein in her day, Acker gives us a different way to look at the uses to which language is put.” —Lynne Tillman