One of our recommended books is Animal Joy by Nuar Alsadir

ANIMAL JOY

A Book of Laughter and Resuscitation


Laughter shakes us out of our deadness. An outburst of spontaneous laughter is an eruption from the unconscious that, like political resistance, poetry, or self-revelation, expresses a provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints. Taking laughter’s revelatory capacity as a starting point, and rooted in Nuar Alsadir’s experience as a poet and psychoanalyst, Animal Joy seeks to recover the sensation of being present and embodied.

Writing in a poetic, associative style, blending the personal with the theoretical, Alsadir ranges from her experience in clown school, Anna Karenina’s morphine addiction, Freud’s un-Freudian behaviors, marriage brokers and war brokers,

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Laughter shakes us out of our deadness. An outburst of spontaneous laughter is an eruption from the unconscious that, like political resistance, poetry, or self-revelation, expresses a provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints. Taking laughter’s revelatory capacity as a starting point, and rooted in Nuar Alsadir’s experience as a poet and psychoanalyst, Animal Joy seeks to recover the sensation of being present and embodied.

Writing in a poetic, associative style, blending the personal with the theoretical, Alsadir ranges from her experience in clown school, Anna Karenina’s morphine addiction, Freud’s un-Freudian behaviors, marriage brokers and war brokers, to “Not Jokes,” Abu Ghraib, Fanon’s negrophobia, smut, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, laugh tracks, the problem with adjectives, and how poetry can wake us up. At the center of the book, however, is the author’s relationship with her daughters, who erupt into the text like sudden, unexpected laughter. These interventions—frank, tender, and always a challenge to the writer and her thinking—are like tiny revolutions, pointedly showing the dangers of being severed from one’s true self and hinting at ways one might be called back to it.

A bold and insatiably curious prose debut, Animal Joy is an ode to spontaneity and feeling alive.

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  • Graywolf Press
  • Paperback
  • August 2022
  • 296 Pages
  • 9781644450932

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$17.00

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About Nuar Alsadir

Nuar Alsadir is the author of Animal JoyNuar Alsadir, a poet and psychoanalyst, is the author of Fourth Person Singular, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and the Forward Prize for Best Collection, and More Shadow Than Bird. She lives in New York City.

Praise

“Gorgeously written and by turns hilarious and crushing, Alsadir’s examination of humanity’s ‘savage complexity’ is not to be missed.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[Animal Joy] is vulnerable, lyrical, and refreshingly incisive. . . . Alsadir’s quiet wit and depth of knowledge lead to unique insights and profound self-reflection.”Kirkus Reviews

“Expansive and erudite. . . . Watching the motion of [Alsadir’s] mind across her capacious subject matter is captivating.”—Kathleen Rooney, LIBER Quarterly

“Alsadir’s Granta essay on the emotional flagellation of clowning is one of the best pieces of writing I have ever read, and her longer interrogation into the act—and release—of laughing is equally powerful and moving.”—Courtney Maum, Lit Hub

“Through the awesome and heterogeneous study of this book, laughter at first feels like the most enigmatic act, a convulsing creature in the psyche, in the home, in awkward publics, but then it is returned to us as the most true form of comprehension.”—Holly Pester, author of Comic Timing