“It’s wonderful to see a woman not interiorizing male fear of her, especially her body, but rather confronting that fear, fighting it, and celebrating her body and her sexuality by creating a fabulous and funny tale.” —Kathy Acker
“This is a highly original narrative, a parable of sorts, disturbing and funny at the same time.” -- Robert Coover
“One of the most daring American novels, f/32 is comical, ribald, passionate, visceral, maniac, and wise. Almost any page of f/32 redeems us from the anemic writing and banalities we have endured in the past decade of bloodless fiction. It sets the creative tone for the nineties.” -- Frederic Tuten
More outrageous than Erica Jong, more sensational than Nicholson Baker's Vox, more explosive than the subsequent Vagina Monologues, f/32 is Eurydice's astonishing award-winning debut. If Gogol had an irrepressible nose, then Ela (a name meaning orgasm) has a less metaphorical organ which is relentless and defining. It whines, it shrieks, it drives Ela mad. Thanks to "it," Ela is an urban siren. Ela (a pseudonym meaning orgasm) stops all hearts. No matter how many people love her, she daily inspires more. She spends half her life avoiding the people who love her, and the other half making them love her. Whoever meets her, desires her at their own risk. Then, one day, she loses the instrument of her pleasure, and sets out after it on a quest for it. f/32 is a wild Rabelaisian romp through most forms of amorous excess, but it is also a brilliant and apocalyptic tale orbiting around a macabre assault on the streets of Manhattan. Ela’s mock-quest for self-understanding and unification, f/32 lures the reader into a landscape of sexual alienation, continually interrupted by gags, dreams, mirror reflections, flashbacks, and street scenes from Manhattan. Between the poles of desire and butchery the novel and Ela sail, the awed reader going along for one of the most dazzling rides in recent American fiction. Fasten your safety belts, for the most unforgettable narrative ever written by a woman.
Ela is voracious: no matter how many people want her, she daily inspires more. Then one day, she loses the instrument of her “pleasure," & sets out after it on a mock-quest for self-understanding & unification. Eurydice's groundbreaking novel examines the Judaeo-Christian dichotomy of flesh & spirit, as it is lived by a modern Everywoman, Ela, in NYC. The narrative, conceived as a neo-fable, follows Ela's urban mock-quest for self-understanding & unification, as she struggles with her alienation from her sexuality & (when seen from the other side of the mirror) her alienation from self-conscious cognition & civilization. Ela's unleashed female signifier (literalized as her estranged vagina) is naturally out of sync with the signified world around her; & the integrity of her quest is undermined by her socially-enforced image of herself. In the final redemption, Ela reunites with her dismembered body &, according to one reviewer, by that act she "redefines the modern world." “f/32" refers to the aperture of the camera lens that presents the central transformation (vagina into viewing lens) in the novel. f/32 exorcises the language of everyday sex, the fear of sexual terms, the secrets of the female body. It reclaims the sexual signifier for women & subverts the Lacanian mirror. It has been called "the definitive novel on female sexuality.”
Eurydice’s debut novel, f/32, was published as a result of winning a National Fiction Competition to which Ron Sukenick submitted her College thesis on his initiative. She was living in India and working in film. The book was bought by Virago Press, rewritten as f/32: The Second Coming, published as a separate novel by Virago, and translated into many languages, incl. Dutch, Italian, German, French, Japanese. This fable of a vagina on the run, and of its owner’s quest for self-understanding and unity through a landscape of sexual alienation continually interrupted by gags, dreams, mirror reflections, flashbacks, and her Manhattan street life, quickly became a literary cult favorite.
"f/32 was my surreal reverie of a vagina-turned-Pantagruel. Some readers called it the definitive word on severed genitalia. Others found it troubling & excessive, imagination-gone-rampant. Then Lorena Bobbit castrated her husband. There was a moment, described in the news, when a policeman stumbled on the severed penis which Lorena in her angst had thrown out of her car window at an intersection as she fled home. The small-town cop retrieved John Wayne’s lone cock & carried it in a napkin to the doctors who stitched Humpty together again. It was then that I knew reality had outdone me, had proven me prophetic against my wildest attempts at creating a fantasy. I don’t know yet of a camera that can view the world through one’s genitals, but I won’t be surprised if that happens too." —Eurydice
“Fiction’s future began with Eurydice’s f/32. Consider its exemplary genesis: Eurydice’s f/32 began when Francois Rabelais, in a moment that Hegel would one day call World Historical, wrote Gogol’s “The Nose.” Kathy Acker plagiarized “The Nose” by Rabelais but called it “The History of the Eye.” The post-punk rock group The Pixies wrote a song called “Debaser” based upon the assumption that “The History of the Eye” by Kathy Acker was plagiarized from Luis Bunuel’s Chien Andalou. (Like the Mekongs—who wrote “Empire of the Senseless” but claimed never to have read Acker—the Pixies claimed never to have read Acker.) Acker was the opposite of nonplussed. She was plussed. It was thus left to Jacques Lacan to fall asleep while watching Bunuel’s Chien Andalou and listening to the Pixies on AKG holographic headphones, fall asleep in his sleep, double sommeil, and dream of a beautiful Greek woman, Eurydice, born mise en abime on the isle of Lesbos. He dreamt that by the age of eight she had rewritten all the books in her father’s library, incl. Homer, Shakespeare, and Beckett. He dreamt that she ran off to Hollywood at fourteen, planning to live as a guest with other exotic women of distant lands, like Madame Nhu, who find Hollywood congenial. Finally, with Lacan in REM nirvana, all sorrow annihilated, Eurydice wrote f/32.” —Curtis White
"In true Bildungsroman fashion, Ela's experience of herself develops in the novel from one of unconscious fragmentation to completeness in fragmentation. The literary parodies of the Bildungsroman and of notions of essence and absence are necessary components of this novel. For the re-affiliation of the self with the self (as in Virginia Woolf's Orlando), it is necessary to go over and through history, and to appropriate the self through history's remarks in literature." — Patricia Coleman
“Just the most authoritative and compelling writer of sex in the English language.” —Craig Marks
“An honest roll of snapshots of American sexuality at the millenium’s end, it empathetically and nonjudgmentally conveys us through different worlds, compulsions, and choices, illuminating the spectrum of human extremity.” —William T. Vollmann
“An erudite and astute road tour of the far frontier of state-of-the-art American sexuality.” —Francine Prose
“A unique blend of reportage, memoir, research and incisive analysis. The strength here is that the author does dig up unquestionably fascinating subjects. The book is worth reading–you’ll feel contentedly average afterward.” —Joel Stein
“Satyricon USA is a fascinating glimpse into extremely creative sexplay. It can leave you outraged or shaking your head in wonder. And maybe, for some, it will be inspirational.” —-Kevin Dicus, New Frontiers
Satyricon USA: A Journey Across the New Sexual Frontier, published by Scribner in NY, London, Sydney, Singapore, follows Eurydice’s journey into the world of America’s modern sexual paraphilias and their seductive but alienating tropes. It is an investigation of the millennial sexual identities and alternative lifestyles and their politically correct tropes which codify and even police what ought to be fluid and anarchic sexual emancipation. It was based on original investigative articles that Eurydice published in Spin, which got her invited to appear on Geraldo and Oprah. With a unique talent for evoking a shocking scene and an empathy for the marginalized, Eurydice plumbs the worlds of cross-dressing conferences, supersized strip emporiums, and sadomasochist gathering spots. She records the surprising sexual adventures of ordinary Americans and introduces such unlikely characters as a former IBM executive who has been cross-dressing since age twelve and a dental assistant who has won fame as a porn star on the Web. Part reportage, part analysis, and part memoir, Satyricon USA is an unforgettable reading experience, catching a society in the throes of redefining its sexual mores. In this "rich and fascinating portrait of sex in America," Eurydice gives us a frontline report on the reality of sex life in the United States -- from "fringe" sexual behavior and sex-on-the-Net to how and why sex has changed from a private activity to a public display.
“Hip without being glib, smart without being smug, Eurydice takes readers on an eye-opening tour of the American sexual underworld and emerges with the news that sexual deviance isn’t deviant at all: it’s deeply embedded in mainstream, middle-class America. In Greek mythology, Eurydice was the unfortunate bride of Orpheus, who tried to lead her out of Hades and failed. As a writer for Spin, this modern-day Eurydice reverses the journey, willingly descending into dank bars and addict meetings. Setting out to discover perversion behind the accepted norm, she finds instead that normalcy abides within such practices as necrophilia, sadomasochism, cybersex and erotic bloodletting. The book also draws strength from Eurydice’s honest confessions about how she feels about what she observes, sustaining a wonderful balance of intellect and emotion throughout her illuminating trek through contemporary sexuality.” — Publishers Weekly
“Drawing on hundreds of interviews, Eurydice attempts to answer questions like: Why is our society simultaneously obsessed with and afraid of sex? How can this widespread sexual eccentricity coexist with the recent puritanical hysteria about sexual harassment and sex in the military? Are we today more liberated or more confined than in the past? While shedding light on the varied answers to these questions, Eurydice learns that her subjects are not on the fringe of society; they are well educated, middle to upper class professional Americans, whose ‘perversions’ represent a quest for continuity, safety, and uniformity. Rather than acting as a travel guide to the sexual underground, Satyricon USA reveals the normalcy lurking in the dark spaces Eurydice visits. A unique blend of reportage, memoir, extensive research, and incisive analysis, it is a compelling portrait of a nation in the midst of redefining its sexual life.” — Lambda Publications
“The author finds most of the contemporary deviant practices she observes to be joyless and vaguely pernicious,‘the tricky disguise of our self-denials as sexual excesses.’ Eurydice is suspicious of our rush to define our sexual identities in ever-more-specific terms (butch bottom boy, radical fairy, bigenderist, transbisexual), codifying and policing what ought to be fluid and anarchic. ‘Words and signs are displacing our genitals. Emancipation has brought us no peace.’’’ –Regina Marler
Eurydice is currently working on a coming-of-age memoir titled LESVOS, MY LOVE (LINK TO WWW.lesvosmylove.com) and on a novel titled EHMH, ANATOMICAL PROPHECY. LESVOS MY LOVE is a giddily funny & hauntingly horrific memoir. It is the story of a repeated Exodus as the narrator’s Sentimental Education, and her escape from conflict—the conflict between memory & loss, self & tribe, duty & desire, destiny & individual freedom. It is the story of the journey of a modern refugee who represents the refugee in all of us. Her story covers four generations & four continents, six languages & currencies, incest, murder, political torture & exile, corporeal punishment, eating disorder, sexual addiction, drug addiction, & a plethora of sexual identities. Every chapter describes the narrator’s trial by fire through a body with whom the narrator is intimate & whose drama reminds her of scenes from her past, helping her unravel the plot of life. Every chapter is framed by the real-time refugee crisis on Lesvos & by attacks of the evil eye that haunt the narrator, or by the developing war on terror & the narrator’s relationship with the male gaze (which she calls the gaze of Orpheus). Held up by the poles of seeing & being seen, Greece & America, the narrator inhabits a cyclical, overlapping time which is the daily perspective of her Hellenistic culture. Obsessed with dates, in an effort to structure the irrationality of history (facts) & its interpretations (readings or superstitions), the narrator lives by the ancient Greek understanding that there is no dichotomy between sex & god, eros & thanatos. On her quest for freedom, the narrator abandons every social group she joins & loses every connection she makes until she finds moral clarity. Eurydice has been writing this memoir in real time on an iPhone in the dark, with a growing child sleeping at her side, to whom she is telling the story of her heritage. English is her third language & the prose reflects the continuous state of translation we all live in.
EHMH was inspired by a number of coinciding events: the Waco tragedy whose flames proved how potent a 1,500-year-old text (St. John’s Apocalypse) can be; the civil war in Yugoslavia (the chetniks & UNPROFOR rapists), which revealed the propensity of the historical past to mess up the present in modern-day Europe; the Aum Shinrikyo cult who unleashed sarin in the subway, followed by Asahara selling his blood for millions of yen, & the sight of orange-suited police crews walking into the Tokyo subways like astronauts setting foot on a new planet; Tim McVeigh driving a Ryder truck filled with fertilizer & fuel into a govt skyscraper; a Greek legend known to all sailors about the immortal mermaid, Alexander the Great's sister, who meets ships at sea; & by her literary impulse to overturn the compulsory linear narrative & the patriarchal, canonical values of the traditional novel in order to weave a narrative free of conventional time & sequence. EHMH’s first chapter--the hypertextual exposition--pivots on a medical (viral) metaphor; the second chapter--the Dantean complication--develops a biological (anatomical) metaphor; the third chapter--the neo-biblical climax and denouement--is supported by a physics discourse (on black holes) which enables EHMH to become the New Jerusalem. The protagonists are three women, Atalanta, Medea, & Pasiphae, whose distinct lives converge in their need for liberation from a life of absence; all eventually seek salvation by jumping into the sea. Atalanta is a woman who runs nonstop but cannot escape. Medea is an immigrant who shops nonstop in a consumer-mad West. Pasiphae is a successful professional woman who has sex nonstop. Atalanta represents the celestial, Olympian aspect; Medea reps the terrestrial, materialist instinct; Pasiphae reps the infernal, creative force. Together they form a human trinity populating the inner arteries of EHMH who reps the godhead. EHMH (Yahweh-gone-softporn Emmanuelle) is an immense mermaid whose body shelters history's disenfranchized, the countless victims, killers, prophets. The second chapter relates the voyage of the women who get drawn into the gargantuan EHMH & together they chart a hazardous course through her body until they reach her brain, where they blast open the abandoned safe of her consciousness. This initiates EHMH's decision to come out into the world. EHMH has a deep internal logic that drives her journey: she speaks for a world filled to capacity & cacophony & she looks for new harmony & new clarity. The third chapter describes the apocalyptic changes EHMH's shocking presence effects on the socio-political prejudices of the West (where she is treated alternately as God & Godzilla, & where the commodity value of EHMH’s blood grows exponentially), & culminates in a celebration of the end of history-as-we-know-it on EHMH's body-turned-city, capital of the new world.
In this world of ephemeral electronic transmissions & virtual realities, Eurydice believes that the novel can serve a Promethean purpose. Human logic cannot begin to fathom what human beings are capable of. That is the difference between fact & fiction. Eurydice uses fiction as a communal healing rite that surpasses meaning in order to humanize fact & expand reason. Realist fiction attempts to homogenize us, to perpetuate the artificial stability of our civilization, to turn life into a summary in order to save the world from chaos. Language & narrative are the systems we made up to make sense of reality. The information highway is an indiscriminate equalizer. When fiction seems more realistic than reality, our writers are scared. In capitalism, power is in numbers, not in quality. Sensationalism defines our democracy. All our words are euphemisms. Life is not the sum of its parts; if fiction is to explain life, it has to overcome its limits. There is no cause & effect in reality. We’re back to the world of Gods, where anything goes.