Kim Gordon’s ‘Girl in a Band’

15QUESTLOVE-articleLargeQuestlove at The New York Times:

Sonic Youth has never had a reputation for shying away from unpleasantness in the search for truth and beauty, and the book does the same, opening with a scene in drizzly São Paulo, as the band played its last show together and Gordon and Moore’s marriage finally fully unraveled. “My about-to-be-ex husband and I faced that mass of bobbing wet ­Brazilians, our voices together spell-checking the old words, and for me it was a staccato soundtrack of surreal raw energy and anger and pain: Hit it. Hit it. Hit it,” Gordon writes. “I don’t think I had ever felt so alone in my whole life.” From here she takes the reader into her childhood. The organization of the book is as unconventional as you’d expect from an artist like Gordon (the first chapter is titled “The End”), and I’m a sucker for unconventional organization, especially early on, when you’re trying to pick up a rhythm as you read it. The chapters are short, no more than three or four pages, short enough that you might call them songs. They jump around a bit but run roughly chronologically. Gordon recalls growing up in Rochester, N.Y., and moving to Los Angeles when her ­sociologist father took a job at U.C.L.A. She paints a cleareyed portrait of her mother, who stayed at home and struggled to stay creative. She ­remembers her charismatic and mentally ill older brother, Keller — “brilliant, manipulative, sadistic” — her closest companion in childhood, “the person who more than anyone else in the world shaped who I was, and who I turned out to be.”

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