Insomnia and the Aunt

BY Tan Lin

Insomnia And The Aunt Download Sample PDF

ISBN: 9780976736479 (2011)

Insomnia and the Aunt is an ambient novel composed of black and white photographs, postcards, Google reverse searches, letters, appendices, an index to an imaginary novel, re-runs and footnotes. The aunt in question can’t sleep. She runs a motel in the Pacific Northwest. She likes watching Conan O’Brien late at night. She may be the narrator’s aunt or she may be an emanation of a TV set. Structured like everybody’s scrapbook, and blending fiction with non-fictional events, Insomnia and the Aunt is about identities taken and given up, and about the passions of an immigrant life, rebroadcast as furniture. Ostensibly about a young man’s disintegrating memory of his most fascinating relative, or potentially a conceptualist take on immigrant literature, it is probably just a treatment for a prime-time event that, because no one sleeps in motels, lasts into the late night and daytime slots.

Tan Lin is the author of over ten books, including Heath Course Pak, Bib. Rev. Ed., Insomnia and the Aunt, 7 Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking, Plagiarism/Outsource, Ambience is a Novel with a Logo, BlipSoak01, and Lotion Bullwhip Giraffe. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Conjunctions, Artforum, Criticism, boundary2, Cabinet, New York Times Book Review, Art in America, and Purple. His video, theatrical and LCD work have been shown at Artists Space, the Marianne Boesky Gallery, the Yale Art Museum, Sophienholm Museum (Copenhagen), Ontological Hysterical Theatre, and as part of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Soundcheck Series. Lin is the recipient of a 2012 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant for Poetry, a Getty Distinguished Scholar Grant for 2004-2005 as well as a Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writing Grant to complete a booklength study of the writings of Andy Warhol. 7 Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary. 2004. The Joy of Cooking received the Association for American Studies Award for Poetry/Literature in 2010. He has taught at the University of Virginia and Cal Arts, and currently teaches creative writing at New Jersey City University. He received a Ph.D from Columbia University.

Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Constant Critic:

Lin’s book, with its central themes of family history, death, and repetition winding dizzyingly together like a glossy Chinese finger trap for the intellect, startled me with its elegiac atmosphere: for all its detached accounts of television reruns and mini-treatises on the beauty of lies, I found Insomnia and the Aunt to be a terrifically somber, heartfelt text.

Nicholas Grider, HTML Giant:

…more meditation than conventional novel, or something somewhere between a novel and everything that’s not a novel, every story that can’t be finished or remembered or even told at all.

Jai Arun Ravine, Lantern Review:

Lin’s aunt comes to stand for a kind of inheritance, an inherited body of the immigrant condition in America, which is really a condition of America, which is really a television. Lin‘s Insomnia and the Aunt is a television grieving for us. We can walk away, but we can never stop watching—or stop being watched—by our dead.

Pepper Luboff, Drunken Boat:

When mass media so completely mediates our experience, can’t it be said this media casts a magic spell on us that makes us intelligible, coheres us into couples, families, the units of society? Can the events of our lives be said to have meaning without a group delusion that sublimates individuality? Lin walks to the edge of a sheer drop and imagines what it would be like to jump.