Early praise for IDIOPHONE:
“Toward the end of Fusselman’s luminous new lyric essay creation, Idiophone, she writes: ‘To see it all at once like in a mirror, to be in one world and to multiply . . .’ and that comes pretty close to the overall mood of this weird, playful, and sometimes gloomy book. It feels sharply focused and almost suffocating at times while there are some moments that feel scattershot and a little off the rails—like the narrator is trying to show you the whole world. Going from the interior worlds of The Nutcracker to her relationship with her mom, Fusselman (one of my favorite people in the book world, I have to admit) investigates the various stagings and preconceptions of art (including quilting!) and being human. A refreshingly wild and ambitious essay that looks like an epic poem but reads like a speeding train set driven by mice, Idiophone is some strange magic.” —Kevin Sampsell of Powell’s
“Idiophone is about the various ways in which humans—especially humans who, have having reached the middle of their journey, are entering the dark wood—use alcohol, magic, imagination, and art to access at least the possibility of a transcendence in which they no longer believe. A furious, necessary, convincing rejuvenation of writer and reader, not to mention a brilliant reading of and against The Nutcracker.” —David Shields, author of Reality Hunger
“There is no mind quite like Amy Fusselman’s, and to be allowed inside it via these deft, singular, surprising sentences is to enter a vibrant wonderland where everything is new and nothing is a bore.” —Elisa Albert
“One of Fusselman’s great talents has always been the construction of juxtapositions and equivalencies, and in this book, she doesn’t disappoint: a mother is a small iridescent paper circle, an EMT is a baby bunny, alcoholism and maternal ambivalence take their places next to stacks of pancakes and a fourteen-foot-tall sculpture from Vanuatu. In outrageously simple, inexplicably tender prose, Fusselman presses on her nouns until they break, and then, after denotation is no longer their most important job, they perform quite a bit of unexpected and marvelous work. This book is going to haunt me.” —Sarah Manguso
“I’m hesitant to offer too much detail about this marvelous, necessary essay because a major part of Idiophone’s glory lies within its many surprises. What a joy to never quite know where the next page—the next line even—will take you! Yet, since all the book’s curvy beelines of thought spring from the deft hand of a fantastic stylist, Idiophone also showcases a palpable and idiosyncratic control. Reader, make yourself ready for a love letter to motherhood, for an examination of the limits of performance, and for a battle cry to experimental voices—all of it powered writing that pirouettes to its own fabulous music.” —Elena Passarello, author and Nutcracker enthusiast
“This book, about ballet and beauty, philosophy and family, reinforces Amy Fusselman’s status as one of our best interrogators of how we live now, and how we should live. As always, Fusselman asks tough questions and answers them with rare lyricism and candor.” —Dave Eggers
“Fusselman’s prose has the delicate, tensile musculature of a ballet dancer, and the best thing you can do for yourself is surrender to it, let Fusselman take you where she wants to go, and then allow yourself to spring off the platform she has provided.” —Nylon
Amy Fusselman is a writer, artist, and publisher based in New York City. She is the author of three books of nonfiction: Savage Park: A Meditation on Play, Space and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted and Afraid to Die (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015); The Pharmacist’s Mate (McSweeney’s, 2013); and 8 (McSweeney’s, 2013).
Her writing has appeared in ARTnews, Ms., The New York Times, Artnet, The Believer, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and The Atlantic, among other places.
Savage Park was excerpted in The Atlantic. Print reviews included the cover story of the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review. Slate also said that Savage Park had one of the “Best Lines of 2015.” and The Believer named it one of their favorite books of 2015. Pank magazine said “Savage Park wraps us in wonder…Amy Fusselman writes with grace and precision that beckons us to ask ourselves, just how will I live my life?”
After its publication by McSweeney’s in hardcover in 2001, The Pharmacist’s Mate was published in paperback by Penguin, and translated into Dutch and French. The Pharmacist’s Mate and 8 were re-released in a single volume from McSweeney’s in 2013. An Italian edition of both books, translated by Leonardo Taiuti, was published by Edizioni Black Coffee in 2017. 8 was recently featured on the Los Angeles Review of Books radio hour.
Fusselman is the publisher at Ohio Edit, a digital art and literary journal that offers 99-cent downloadable essays on thought-provoking topics. The first two essays in the series are Winnicott and Music by Nicholas Spice and Comedy and Agency by David Robbins. Ohio Edit’s first venture into paper books, Jon-Michael Frank’s fantastically bitter How’s Everything Going? Not Good was distributed by SPD and sold out its print run .
She lives in Manhattan with her husband and three children.
Some featured writing and artist interviews:
“How to Make Rape Lemonade” -McSweeney’s
“On the Parental Gaze,” The Believer
“Family Practice” a parenting column on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
“Cats” a poem on Word Riot
An Interview with Anastasia Higginbotham, The Believer
“Let Me Tell You About the Fistfight I Got Into Last Night,” Empty Mirror
“The Feeler,” a review of Matt Mullican’s performance at The Kitchen on Ohio Edit
“Inside Picasso’s Head,” a feature about performing in an artwork by Maurizio Cattelan, artnet.com
“On Marie Kondo and Children and Play,” Medium
Selected earlier projects: