Reading this was like a night of stealing other people's drinks, or a much-needed slap to the face, or a little of both. Bold, glittering, wise, fun, the novel as found poem alive in the mouth of this truth-telling queen, making her way through a wasteland of other people's lies (and a few of her own), and looking for something near paradise. Follow her and live.
—Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night
If Sketchtasy doesn't become a classic, we are doomed. Mattilda has such complete command of craft here that she is able to evoke experience, rather than simply describe it… A lesson in how to write, how to remember, how to grapple with history.
—Sarah Schulman, author of Conflict Is Not Abuse
“Can memoir be honest, emotionally or otherwise? Is counterculture actually possible as a way to live? What happens to those who dream of a radical queer community when the dream fails? Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s latest book, The End of San Francisco, is a despairing memoir of loss — the loss of the dream of radical queer San Francisco, the loss of formative friendships, the loss of personal and political innocence. Written in a free-associative style and merging personal and social history, it is — like all of Sycamore’s work — innovative both formally and politically… The End of San Francisco is the opposite of nostalgia. Nostalgia is fundamentally conservative, and its conservatism is often embedded in the form in which stories are told. The End of San Francisco seems to me radical, not just in content, but formally, in insisting on other ways of remembering and documenting.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
“[A] frantic kaleidoscope of mourning and survival… recklessly transfigured through language and imagination.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
WINNER OF A 2014 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD
"You may have thought you understood human nature before you read this book; after reading it you will be humbled by all you failed to grasp until now. America invented identity politics but here those identities have been multiplied and articulated as never before."
"These essays come like a plunge into a forest pool of revitalizing joy, honesty, and common sense. Read them. Now. No—not tomorrow. Now!"
—Samuel R. Delany
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION STONEWALL HONOR BOOK
"Mattilda's brilliance makes stream-of-consciousness a lifestyle, a state-of consciousness. This is an entire lived life's worth of heartshaking honesty, arch observation, searing vulnerabilty and craving and seeking, all in one breathtakingly poetic (and hilarious) book. Life is hard, I'm in tears, Mattilda's book is simultaneously the cause and the comfort."
"Like the best writers that have come before -- David Wojnarowicz, Lou Reed, William Burroughs -- Sycamore has boiled life and times down to a resin that you could almost grind, cut up and snort. There is no one else on this planet that could write this book. Dare I say it's a classic? Yes, and I dare you to read it."
—Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters
“Gleefully demolishes the smug propriety that lurks within most contemporary debates about gender and diversity. What a breath of fresh air!”
“Providing tons of those increasingly rare moments when you realize you are actually ingesting fresh ideas.”
—Time Out New York
“A fascinating example of how feminism and gender studies can support radically new identities that develop at the speed of life -- or it may be part of the end of identity politics as known so far.”
"Startlingly bold and provocative."
"That's Revolting! is a pre-emptive line in the sand, a radical embrace of the political creativity of the 'outsider.' It calls us all, regardless of our specific sexual and gender identities, to resist the pressures to assimilate into an increasingly belligerent and racist normality. Ranging from New York to San Francisco, from prison cells to the prison camp life of occupied Palestine, That's Revolting! does more than map out the nether regions of queer identity politics. The articles and interviews gathered together here are full of the collective wisdom of generations of activists determined to take the social space needed to live their lives. Inspiring, angry, ribald and also soberly self-critical, this book is a great way to… expand your notions of what a better world can be.”
“Kicks mainstream lit in the teeth.”
—San Francisco Bay Guardian
"As a work of literature--and Pulling Taffy is terrific literature--this book transverses a series of expected genres. It's a cross between Kerouac's On the Road and John Rechy's City of Night, except that it isn't as repetitious as the former or as sentimental as the latter. Sycamore has a unique voice--reminiscent of Frank O'Hara's 'and-then-I-did-this-and-then-I-did-that' school of poetry-that hints at drugged-out-drag patois but is firmly located in an urban vernacular that is familiar to everyone, but still surprising in its lilt and cadences."
“I have seen the future, and it is Pulling Taffy."
“Brutal, raw, cathartic and redemptive."
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Breaks all the rules about political correctness, gender and sex."
"Writing as therapy, as art, as rebellion, the anthology's contributors wring the heartbreak out of growing up queer or other in families that only made things worse, where nurturing was at a minimum and self-reliance/survival and ultimate escape and separation were paramount."
—Bay Area Reporter
"If you want to know what it's like to be a whore, this book gives you the experience. It's so authentic and so well written... that I felt like I was back in the business."
"Written entirely from the point of view of a class of workers who seldom get to speak for themselves, this collection illuminates the unique perspective they have on our culture. I was struck by just how intimate some hookers and hustlers get with their clients. They hear secrets, know intensely personal information, and see a side of their clients no one else does."
—The Village Voice
“A painfully tantalizing must-read for every serious student of sex and gender, every feminist who's interested in the good-girl/bad-girl debate, and everyone who's harbored the secret longing to be a sex worker...It's a great book!"