Review: Nelson’s The Argonauts

The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson

If you’re interested in parenting, gender identity, committed relationships, theory, love, sex, motherhood, queer theory or just gut wrenchingly good memoirs, you really should read Maggie Nelson’s the Argonauts.

Conceived as a set of vignettes, the book tells the story first of Nelson’s marriage to Harry Dodge, a gender queer artist as suspect of language as Nelson is enraptured by it. It also deals indepth with Nelson’s pregnancy and motherhood (and step-motherhood to Dodge’s child from a previous relationship). Spliced throughout it are memories of Nelson’s childhood, and extensive ruminations on major works in feminist and queer theory, poetry, and more.

Nelson is fundamentally a poet. She writes beautifully and honestly about the struggles to make sense of this world, to share it with another, and to bring a new life into it. The book is so good, and so honest, I couldn’t put the damn thing down. The parts on her relationship to Dodge, and on what it means to be a mother, and a family, rang so true.  At times the all these things are raw and hard — at others joyous – and all of it is well written.

I wanted to read every damn passage out loud.

Super good.

You should read it, I’d love to discuss it with you.

Recommended for anyone interested in what it means to live an examined life.

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  1. Samir Chopra

    Maybe I’ll borrow this from you next week.

  2. 2015: My Year In Books | Milo and the Calf

    […] Non-Fiction Book: Tied between The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson and Coates’s Between the World and Me.  Honestly, if you want to be able to think about […]

  3. Review: Nelson’s Shiner | Milo and the Calf

    […] is, I think, is why, though I absolutely loved the Argonauts, Shiner, Maggie Nelson’s first book of poetry left me […]

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    […] on blue, sorta, but also a inquiry into love, life and theory. This is clearly a precursor to the Argonauts. There’s a similar style and tone, moving from the conversational to the theoretical and back. It […]

  5. Nelson’s Jane: A Murder | Milo and the Calf

    […] Nelson is one of my favorite writers. Her book the Argonauts knocked me on my ass. Its still one of my go-to gift books. I’ve read almost everything she has […]

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