From Publishers Weekly
Novelist (Pulling Taffy
) and nonfiction anthologist (Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity
) Sycamore is back with an ambitious but less-than-compelling satire of drug-fueled, gender-bending San Francisco subculture. The narrator, who may or may not be genetically female, fills days and many late nights with relentless sexual encounters and vivid ruminations concerning random sex, hustling, cocaine and other party drugs; occasionally, she takes time out for a rare healthy habit, vikram yoga, and to worry about her apartment's roach-and-rodent infestation. Obviously inspired by the stream-of-consciousness and day-in-the-life classics of Joyce, Woolf and Beckett, here the pointed commentary falls flat; the problem isn't San Francisco's eccentric denizens, but Sycamore's profane meanderings, too much of which isn't especially insightful or funny. The narrator takes far too long to move beyond the bitchy play-by-play, making sure that, by the time Sycamore introduces genuine stakes, readers will already feel too bored and browbeaten to care. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"...Sycamore's luscious prowess with prose--coupled with an easy gender fluidity--is evocative and provocative and literarily seductive." --Richard Labonte
"So Many Ways to Sleep Badly offers up the events of Sycamore's own life in a frantically paced stream of consciousness narrative. Her writing swings between poetic and horrifying as her ambiguously gendered central character lies awake in San Francisco's rundown Tenderloin district, disturbed by roaches and rats and the real or imagined pigeons in the ceiling of her apartment, before taking off to service a variety of seedy men in the city's most expensive hotels." --Cate Simpson, Extra!
"Once a toe is dipped into [Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's] Burroughs-like stream-of-consciousness writing, it's difficult to turn your back on such a wet and wooly ride through the streets of our beloved SF. Sycamore's protagonist (herself, possibly?) lives in an apartment festering with roaches, hangs with some eccentric friends (including a hot BF/fuck buddy named Jeremy), and turns tricks for $150 an hour from a newspaper ad. The resulting carnal carnival is effortlessly provocative . . . . The good thing is that it surprisingly doesn't get tired, and if you are part of the SF gay scene, it will all become relative. Her protagonist's hustling adventures are humorous and have an authentic ring to them. . . . Sycamore and her aggressive material are much alike; there seems to be a lot more here than meets the eye." --Jim Piechota, Bay Area Reporter
" . . . high-speed, stream-of-consciousness romp that could easily have been subtitled 'looking for love in all the wrong places.' . . . What's more, in quips worthy of Stephen Colbert, he slams San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, the Iraq War, and the queer rush to the altar celebrated by mainstream liberals." --Library Journal, February 15th, 2009 --Library Journal, February 15th, 2009
"This Lambda Literary Award finalist offers up a thrilling socio-politically transgressive, gender-bending queer novel about life in San Francisco. From bad sex to vegan restaurants to NPR and tweaking buddies, Sycamore's frenetic pace and unabashed solipsism is most refreshing." --Diane Anderson-Minshall, Curve Magazine
"Sycamore paints as bleak a picture of the world as she does illustrate its fleeting moments of beauty. It's a shame that more bookstores don't carry titles like these in their slowly rotting fiction departments." --Indie Street