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.
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.