Jo is in a strange new country for university and having a more peculiar time than most. In a house with no walls, shared with a woman who has no boundaries, she finds her strange home coming to life in unimaginable ways. Jo’s sensitivity and all her senses become increasingly heightened and fraught, as the lines between bodies and plants, dreaming and wakefulness, blur and mesh.
This debut novel from critically acclaimed artist and musician Jenny Hval presents a heady and hyper-sensual portrayal of sexual awakening and queer desire.
“In Paradise Rot, Jenny Hval creates a parallel world that’s familiar but subtly skewed. As intriguing and impressive a novelist as she is a musician, Hval is a master of quiet horror and wonder.”
“Hval is an artist of many questions—the ones she asks, and those she provokes in the listener. Apocalypse, Girl swerves from decipherable politics to recondite personal imagery. It’s not a paraphrasable album, but it is a listenable one, its avant-garde tendencies held in check by Hval’s beguiling voice.”
“Contemporary pop culture teems with unfiltered first-person narratives and cathartic self-exposure, from search-engine-optimized ‘it happened to me’ essays to the highbrow family memoirs of authors like Maggie Nelson. At its worst, the form is trashy; at its best, it can convey ideas that extend far beyond the confessor, tapping into something both intensely intimate and universally political. The avant-garde Norwegian singer Jenny Hval pulls off this feat with a rare grace, layering prose poems, both spoken and sung, over synths, pulsing house rhythms, and noise-rock fuzz. Where Hval’s last studio album, Apocalypse, Girl, served as a withering feminist commentary on the sexual politics of American consumer culture (sample lines: “I beckon the cupcake/The huge capitalist clit”; “I grab my cunt with my hand that isn’t clean”), Blood Bitch, out September 30, deconstructs the menstrual cycle, the ageing body, and the symbiotic relationship between lovers, vampires, and prey.”
“Hval’s words shock precisely because they’re not referring to sex or desire but instead address vulnerability and nurturing … Hval’s world is radically different: an intimate, often mysterious place where the melodic sophistication of Björk and Kate Bush meets Laurie Anderson’s witty cool.”
“As with all her work, she finds new ways to provoke, and new parts of your brain to light up.”
“Norwegian artist Jenny Hval presents a version of female sexuality in which carnal impulses, anxieties and the female/male perspective are often knotted together.”