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I'm Trying to Reach You Paperback – Deckle Edge, July 17, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Two Dollar Radio; Reprint edition (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983247110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983247111
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Barbara Browning is the author of the novel The Correspondence Artist. She teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. She's also a poet and dancer, and lives with her son in Greenwich Village.

More About the Author

Barbara Browning has a PhD from Yale in Comparative Literature. She teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. She's also a poet and a dancer. She lives with her son in Greenwich Village.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anita Mohan on November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Weird and wonderful blend of high and low concerns. I feel lucky to have been given such a clever, contemporary, observant book about performance, viral video, and connection, among many other things. I don't know the author and haven't read anything else by her, but it bothers me that more people aren't gushing over this novel. Highly recommend.

Oh- and the reason it says this purchase is unverified is because I got it as the Emily Books pick for November.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Barbara Browning makes good use of her academic background in this playful tale of an aging male dancer working on his dissertation on the semiotics of modern dance and ballet while investigating the coincidental or not-so-coincidental deaths of iconic dancer/choreographers Merce Cunningham, Pina Bausch and Michael Jackson within weeks of each other. The clues are in a series of YouTube videos (links included in the book!) of a mysterious dancer who may or may not be imparting coded messages to our hero through her movements. Browning makes great use of our meme-filled, deconstructed, post-millennial moment. A terrific read!
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Format: Paperback
When Gray Adams, former ballet dancer turned academic, gets stuck turning his dissertation into a book, he does what any good academic does: more research. Unfortunately, his research isn’t into his book’s topic (“Semaphoric Mime from the Ballet Blanc to William Forsythe: A Derridean Analysis”), but rather into the deaths of three iconic figures in dance—Michael Jackson, Pina Bausch, and Merce Cunningham.

Browning’s playful novel follows Gray as he deciphers cryptic clues embedded in a series of YouTube videos. But readers expecting a mystery similar to Someone Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe might be disappointed; even Gray realizes that his theories are probably paranoid projections. Instead, the novel delves into Gray’s scattered mind as he goes in search of information. Sometimes, Gray’s search leads him on surprising discoveries, such as when he uncovers the Swedish word for “boyfriend” (pojkvan, a compound word combining ‘boy’ and ‘skilled’).

At other times, though, he simply rambles. Gray occasionally disappears down a black hole of YouTube comments, uncovering vaguely threatening messages from a man he dubs “Jimmy Stewart,” as well as the original poster’s responses. But the comments speak at cross-purposes. Their “conversation,” comprised of quotations attributed to the “real” Jimmy Stewart and poetic fragments from Emily Dickenson, offers juxtaposition but no real discourse. (The less said about the sophomoric and homophobic responses from “real people,” the better.)

This, perhaps, is intentional. Browning’s novel is a pastiche. She cuts and pastes from many different sources to create a multimedia experience. (The videos that Gray sees, for instance, are available on YouTube.
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