Emily Gould at The Paris Review:
“I loved it when my tits or my cock or my asshole would destroy my own ego with their needs,” writes Dodie Bellamy in The Letters of Mina Harker. It’s true that these body parts and many others assert themselves vehemently throughout the text, which is already a riot of warring impulses and contradictory or just chorusing voices. Most writing strives to unify impulses, to find harmony between the heart (or whatever) and the mind, the corporeal and the spiritual, the story and its narrator. Dodie begins this book by disassembling that expectation, mocking it as she discards it, bringing it up again and again only to find it eternally lacking. Formal contrivance can never compete for long with what’s real and right in front of us. This book interrupts itself often to critique itself, or tell the story of its own creation, or take a break from itself to eat a snack, jerk off, begin again.
I have to admit, the first time I attempted to read this book circa 2012, I didn’t “get it.” I came to it because I was obsessed with diaries and had loved Dodie’s then-latest book, which was a diary that she initially serialized as a blog of an affair with a shitty Buddhist teacher.