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Down Below by Leonora Carrington
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Down Below

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Down Below by Leonora Carrington
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Apr 18, 2017 | ISBN 9781681370606

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    Apr 18, 2017 | ISBN 9781681370606

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“In her centenary year, Carrington is undergoing a revival…Down Below is both a recollection of madness and a kind of transcription. Though Carrington completed it after the fact, her memoir hews closely to her thoughts and feelings as they were then.” —Anwen Crawford, The New Yorker

“So vivid is Carrington’s step-by-step descent into madness…it is possible to read Down Below in a single sitting, but emotionally quite difficult… [You] get the distinct impression that for Carrington, reality is malleable.” —Carmen Maria Machado, NPR

Down Below recounts Carrington’s incarceration in a Spanish asylum and her daring escape in a tone so cool that even the most harrowing details have a delayed effect on the reader, like the timed release of a potent drug. Her use of language is as precise as an artist’s choice of line or color, which helps her express the inexpressible.” —Carol Cooper, The Village Voice

“[B]rief and unflinchingly honest…a candid, painful, and personal account of someone’s darkest hours…In a very helpful introduction to the book, novelist Marina Warner writes that Carrington was persuaded to write the memoir by surrealism’s literary founder, André Breton, who viewed her genuine, unaffected descent into true madness as surrealism at its most pure. As such, it seems a case can be made that this little book is indeed the gold standard of surrealist literature.” —Publishers Weekly

Down Below is not only a radical reworking of the Surrealist narrative of female madness: it is a sophisticated experiment with reason, subjectivity and the narrative voice, in which Carrington is able to speak clearly of madness from the outside, to speak clearly of what is within it, of its ins and outs, without committing wholly to memoir or to art.” —Joanna Walsh, Verso Books (blog)

“Her stories are vivid, funny and surprisingly fresh…[they] combine satire with surrealist situations to deftly mock the pomposity of organized religion, sexual repression or the endless forms of bureaucratic hypocrisy and ineptitude… She controls her imagery, amuses us with her tweaking of the bourgeoisie and moves us with her dazzling dreamscapes, all the while firmly maintaining her slightly bemused sang-froid.” —Richard Burgin, The New York Times

“While other Surrealists played at madness, she was intimate with it.” —Peter Campbell, London Review of Books

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