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PJ Harvey's Rid of Me: A Story (33 1/3) Paperback – August 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum; 1 edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826427782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826427786
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Kate Schatz's "Rid of Me" is less about a particular album than it is about what happens to an album when you listen to it repeatedly—the way it evolves and transforms and ends up plugging into all the right circuits in your brain. In the end, overlaid with all your own fears and desires the album becomes the basis for a new world, stories swelling out of it like ghosts. Schatz's "Rid of Me" is the uncanny double of P.J. Harvey's album: it both offers all the mystery and beauty that fiction at its best can offer and illustrates better than anything else I know the private process of making an album genuinely your own.

— Brian Evenson, Director of the Literary Arts Program at Brown University and author of six books of fiction, most recently The Wavering Knife (which won the IHG Award for best story collection)



All the writers I know, at least the cool ones, fantasize being rock stars. Kate Schatz' debut book is the next best thing - a writer turning her engagement with a great album into flesh and blood characters, creepy-sexy plot turns and howling guitar, um, verbal solos. I wish I'd thought of it first.

—Rebecca Brown, author of THE TERRIBLE GIRLS.


"I'd like to slip this between a few books that I read over and over again: The Lesbian Body by Monique Wittig, Spanking the Maid by Robert Coover, and By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart. This is a journey, a song, a symphony, a love poem, a cry, a whisper, a nightmare, and, in such an unexpected and joyous way - a sustained arousal. It is at once about torture and love, bondage and caresses, empowerment and submission, femininity and tomboys, entrapment and escape, kidnapping and running away, death and ecstasy. With cruel and luscious women who are teachers, nurses, children, campers, and lovers, we are stripped of our senses and then filled up again with a new way of seeing, reading, sexing, feeling, tasting and loving."

—Erin Cressida Wilson, Spirit-Award winning screenwriter of Secretary and Fur



A sexy, earnest tale about two young women searching for the end of the forest, for freedom, for a way to escape their violent and strangling pasts. Rid of Me conjures Anais Nin, Angela Carter, fairy tales, horror movies, punk melodrama, as well as PJ Harvey. It's a fast, fun fall through thin air.

Micah Perks, author of Pagan Time and We Are Gathered Here


The best musical covers occur when some kind of alchemy takes place.What starts out as an act of homage or repetition turns into revelationas the new version throws light on, say, the lyrical subtext orrhythmic potential that seem to have been hidden within the original.Kate Schatz magics a similar sort of transformation in her fictionalcover — revolving around two outlaw-lovers, Mary and Kathleen — of PJHarvey's 1993 album Rid of Me.
—San Francisco Bay Guardian


"Rid of Me takes its cue from PJ Harvey's album of the same titleand appropriately veers away from its surface toward an unusual and fictiveadventure into the irreverently dark psychology(ies) that made the albumpopular in the first place."- Kate Morris, FeministReview, June 27, 2007 (Feminist Review)

"The idea that we all experience an album differently, that we each create our own version of the album through listening, is a driving force behind the book...[Schatz] shines a lingth on one of the most inspiring aspects of music: how open-ended something as limited as a four-minute pop song truly is. And as she offers her own interpretation of Rid of Me, she also gives us a new interpretation of what it means to write "a book about an album."
—www.erasingclouds.com


"In this book, there is no distinction between music, fiction, books andalbums. The ambiguity and lyricism — with threads and fragments fromHarvey's lyrics scattered throughout — compel you to read chaptersover and over. They take you like a song on repeat, rubbing you until youbleed."
—Karrie Higgins, The Los Angeles Times


"[Schatz] recreates the album's weird push-pull tension, notably in her suspenseful characterization of Mary and Kathleen's mysterious woods."—PopMatters.com




"Continuum's 33 1/3 series, which produces lively little volumes of criticism, personal history, and other kinds of "cover lit" on beloved pop and rock albums, has Kate Schatz's fictional riff on PJ Harvey's 1993 Rid of Me, which the online magazine Inkblot once described as "the musical equivalent of a bulldozer tearing through your living room." That review could apply equally well to Schatz's novella. Each chapter, named after tracks like "Rub It 'Til It Bleeds" and "50ft Queenie," takes the reader further into the kidnapping-cum-affair between Kathleen, who has fled an ailing controlling patriarch, and Mary, her captor, who has left a suffocating marriage for an abandoned hunting cabin in the forest. Neither character seems to have any idea of how to heal their abusive pasts; instead, they take their cues from Harvey's unsettling music. Schatz's prose, at time dystopic and surrealist, often really does sound like a rock song. The music winds up accompanying the fiction, which is just as weird and unsettlingly powerful as the album's trademark photo of Harvey's hair rising from the water like a new hybrid animal."—Bitch Magazine

"Some albumsinvade a person so deeply they are driven to obsession. Apparently this was the case for Kate Schatz,who as a teenager was consumed with PJ Harvey's Rid of Me- not surprisingly foran album so deeply drenched with sex, angst and betrayal. Lucky for us, Schatz is now a writer and haschanneled her fervor into a narrative inspired by the album about two troubledgirls who are mysteriously drawn together to an ominous house in thewoods...thestory weaves in Rid of Me lyrics and themes of infidelity, lust, and rage,mirroring its track listing as chapter titles. For an album that rips your guts out with stripped-down rock and rawemotion, Rid of Me: A Story is an engaging homage." Underthe Radar Magazine



"We've said it before and we'll damn well say it again, Continuum's 331/3 series of books — wherein a writer is given the freedom to waxlyrical about their favorite album — are not only delightful littlecollectors items but have also spawned some truly wonderful essays,ranging from techie minded nuts and bolts recording break-downs tomarvelous flights of fancy like this little beauty by Kate Schatz. Thethird writer to take the fiction route for their chosen album (Music From Big Pink by John Niven and Meat is Murderby Joe Pernice being the other two) telling the highly charged erotictale (what else could it be based on Harvey's equally highly chargedand erotic album?) of Kathleen and Mary and their desperate efforts toescape their respective pasts via a kidnapping, a house in the middleof a dark, deeply disturbing, forest and some sapphic shenanigans. Eachchapter, both named after and relating to, the album's tracks, movesthe story along apace and successfully evokes the albums unsettlinglyrics and themes. Writing about music has been in the doldrums for toolong, let's have a lot more like this please." —Total Music Magazine

"Kate Schatz's delightfully queer work of fiction has all the elements of a solid album: desire, darkness, sex and transformation... This fireball of a read captures an interpretive lyrical undertone as sexy and intoxicating as Harvey's original"
(Curve Magazine)

"Id like to slip this between a few books that I read over and over again: The Lesbian Body by Monique Wittig, Spanking the Maid by Robert Coover, and By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart. This is a journey, a song, a symphony, a love poem, a cry, a whisper, a nightmare, and, in such an unexpected and joyous way - a sustained arousal. It is at once about torture and love, bondage and caresses, empowerment and submission, femininity and tomboys, entrapment and escape, kidnapping and running away, death and ecstasy. With cruel and luscious women who are teachers, nurses, children, campers, and lovers, we are stripped of our senses and then filled up again with a new way of seeing, reading, sexing, feeling, tasting and loving."

—Erin Cressida Wilson, Spirit-Award winning screenwriter of Secretary and Fur



Rid of Me takes its cue from PJ Harvey’s album of the same titleand appropriately veers away from its surface toward an unusual and fictiveadventure into the irreverently dark psychology(ies) that made the albumpopular in the first place.”- Kate Morris, FeministReview, June 27, 2007 (Sanford Lakoff)

"The idea that we all experience an album differently, that we each create our own version of the album through listening, is a driving force behind the book...[Schatz] shines a lingth on one of the most inspiring aspects of music:  how open-ended something as limited as a four-minute pop song truly is.  And as she offers her own interpretation of Rid of Me, she also gives us a new interpretation of what it means to write "a book about an album."
—www.erasingclouds.com


"Continuum's 33 1/3 series, which produces lively little volumes of criticism, personal history, and other kinds of "cover lit" on beloved pop and rock albums, has Kate Schatz's fictional riff on PJ Harvey's 1993 Rid of Me, which the online magazine Inkblot once described as "the musical equivalent of a bulldozer tearing through your living room."  That review could apply equally well to Schatz's novella.  Each chapter, named after tracks like "Rub It 'Til It Bleeds" and "50ft Queenie," takes the reader further into the kidnapping-cum-affair between Kathleen, who has fled an ailing controlling patriarch, and Mary, her captor, who has left a suffocating marriage for an abandoned hunting cabin in the forest.  Neither character seems to have any idea of how to heal their abusive pasts; instead, they take their cues from Harvey's unsettling music.  Schatz's prose, at time dystopic and surrealist, often really does sound like a rock song.  The music winds up accompanying the fiction, which is just as weird and unsettlingly powerful as the album's trademark photo of Harvey's hair rising from the water like a new hybrid animal."—Bitch Magazine 

“Some albumsinvade a person so deeply they are driven to obsession. Apparently this was the case for Kate Schatz,who as a teenager was consumed with PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me- not surprisingly foran album so deeply drenched with sex, angst and betrayal. Lucky for us, Schatz is now a writer and haschanneled her fervor into a narrative inspired by the album about two troubledgirls who are mysteriously drawn together to an ominous house in thewoods...thestory weaves in Rid of Me lyrics and themes of infidelity, lust, and rage,mirroring its track listing as chapter titles. For an album that rips your guts out with stripped-down rock and rawemotion, Rid of Me: A Story is an engaging homage.” Underthe Radar Magazine



"We’ve said it before and we’ll damn well say it again, Continuum’s 331/3 series of books – wherein a writer is given the freedom to waxlyrical about their favorite album – are not only delightful littlecollectors items but have also spawned some truly wonderful essays,ranging from techie minded nuts and bolts recording break-downs tomarvelous flights of fancy like this little beauty by Kate Schatz. Thethird writer to take the fiction route for their chosen album (Music From Big Pink by John Niven and Meat is Murderby Joe Pernice being the other two) telling the highly charged erotictale (what else could it be based on Harvey’s equally highly chargedand erotic album?) of Kathleen and Mary and their desperate efforts toescape their respective pasts via a kidnapping, a house in the middleof a dark, deeply disturbing, forest and some sapphic shenanigans. Eachchapter, both named after and relating to, the album’s tracks, movesthe story along apace and successfully evokes the albums unsettlinglyrics and themes. Writing about music has been in the doldrums for toolong, let's have a lot more like this please." —Total Music Magazine

"Kate Schatz's delightfully queer work of fiction has all the elements of a solid album: desire, darkness, sex and transformation... This fireball of a read captures an interpretive lyrical undertone as sexy and intoxicating as Harvey's original"
(Sanford Lakoff)

From the Back Cover

"Tie yourself to me," she whispered, without turning around, as I snuck up from behind. My boots scraping slightly in the dirt, sweat running into my eye, the salt stinging me, my heart thudding, my dry mouth hanging open, tasting the electricity between us. "No on else." She said it again: "Tie yourself to me." It was no longer a whisper: the words were sure, though slightly slurred....I stared down at the shining top of her black silk head and wanted to howl with joy. She had come.

Rid of Me: A Story is, in the author's words, "not about the album, but because of it." The story concerns Kathleen and Mary, two women who end up in a strange, abandoned cabin in the dark forest that borders their depressed valley town. Through fourteen short chapters that mirror the songs on the album, Kathleen and Mary negotiate their freedom, their pasts, their survival, and each other. The result is a twisted, gripping fairy tale of kidnapping, dreams, murder, sex, revenge, and love.


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By CDLehner on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, some backstory: I'm a music FREAK! I have somewhere around 5,000 CDs, and a list of favorites that's quite extensive. I'd much rather listen than read, but I do like books about some of the more iconic artists; Hendrix, Dylan, Joplin, Cobain...just to name a few. I was kind of late to discover the 33 1/3 series, but I was ecstatic! Here...supposedly...was a series of books more focused, about some of the really ground-breaking albums of my time. I looked forward to hearing about the artists, and the ins and outs of recording that particular title.

I was so enamored by this series, that I had a tough time picking out my first few titles. I settled on Neil Young's Harvest, Jeff Buckley's Grace, The Replacement's Let It Be...and PJ Harvey's Rid Of Me. When they arrived, I decided to start with this one; so...imagine my disappointment!

I have no one to blame but myself; I should have read the reviews more carefully. I did recall that "some" of the books weren't entirely about the artist or the recordings; that some of them "included" works of fiction..."inspired" by the record...or personal reflections moreso than the artistic process. WoW; with no disrespect meant to the author...who I'm sure is a very nice girl, and a fan...I don't know how Continuum could publish this garbage under the guise of a narrative about PJ Harvey and/or Rid Of Me!

It's pure fiction...and drivel at that (it is, admittedly, the author's "first book of fiction"...lucky us)...that has only the inspiration of the album to lend it any connection whatsoever. I don't know how Continuum goes about choosing which if these to publish, or who to write them. But seriously; was there not a critic or engineer...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By monkeycatt on February 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is the 48th book i've read in the 33 1/3 series and i must say it's one of the worst. (the others being aja and aqualung). i wanted to like it, i really did, but it was just a chore to get through and very dull. i'm not against the idea of it being a work of fiction inspired by the album...in fact, i welcome that approach. (my favorite ones in this series are like this--music from big pink, meat is murder, let it be). in this instance, the tale of two emotionally-scarred females having some sort of "subversive" relationship in a derelict cabin in the forest simply didn't hit the mark for me. could be manna from heaven for some readers though, just not this one.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Judith M. Lutzenberger on July 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kate Schatz has delivered a carefully crafted, mesmerizing tale of entrapment, flight and freedom that left this reader eager to read whatever she'll be writing next. As someone totally unfamiliar with the music of PJ Harvey, I read this story for its own sake and was not disappointed. Its two heroines, Mary and Kathleen, were each manipulated and confined by the men in their lives, one powerful in his own right, one completely powerless yet equally controlling. Their separate escapes and bizarre and frightening union made this reader question conventional notions of mental illness, crime and the redemptive powers of love.

After reading this book, I listened to PJ Harvey's "Rid of Me," CD for the first time, paging through each chapter during its related song. It was as if Mary and Kathleen were baring their souls and sharing their spirits! Thank you, Kate Schatz, for taking me where I would never venture on my own. It was a thrilling ride!
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