Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective
Created by Kathy Acker
Can you say "post-modern"? I knew you could...
Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective is a short novel (discovered and published post-humously) from early in the career of legendary kamikaze slice-and-dice author Kathy Acker, supposedly full of the "raunchy and subversive wit typical of Acker's more mature work" (Publishers Weekly).
The novel was written in 1973, at the very start of Kathy Acker's writing career and reads like a sexy, bizarro take on coming-of-age tales and hard-boiled detective fiction; a sort of "Raymond Chandler for bad girls." The eponymous heroine, RIP-OFF RED, is a private eye in the Big Apple, whose biggest case seems to be herself.
That's not really much of a surprise, since Acker wasn't above drawing on her own colourful past, which included stints as a stripper, a punk rocker and a college professor. And in fact, Acker's style is already plenty evident here -- the literary playfulness, the gutter (and gut) level view of New York City, the sex and violence, the twisted genre conventions and the in-yer-face and up-yer-ass experimentation. She used profanity, poetry and even plagarism to bend, fold and mutilate literary expectations. According to Spin, she was "America's most beloved transgressive novelist" and that sounds about right. She sure knew how to throw a party, anyway. Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective was published in a single volume along with The Burning Bombing of America: The Destruction of the U.S. in the fall of 2002, and sports a slapped-together cover shot of the author and the Twin Towers.
Isn't that nice?
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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