Frail Sister by Karen Green
LA book launch & signing: October 13, 4–6pm
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth, 917 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles
NYC book launch & signing: October 25, 6–8pm
Aeon Bookstore, 151 E. Broadway, New York City
“What a beautiful, strange book—found objects and fictional prose brought together to tell the real and imagined story of Constance Gale, through letters to her sister, letters from young men at war. From the beginning to the end of the book, we bear witness to a life, too-short but fully-lived. This is simply fascinating and gorgeously written, gorgeously assembled.”—Roxane Gay
Artist and writer Karen Green’s Frail Sister originated in her search for a woman who had vanished: her Aunt Constance whom Green knew only from a few family photos and keepsakes. Finding almost no trace of her, Green instead invents, appropriates and transforms artifacts. Then she constructs an elliptical, arresting arrangement of these fragments to pursue a new inquiry: what becomes of a woman whose talent, ambition, and appetite defy what the world expects of her? How does a woman simply disappear?
A fictional archive of altered photos, letters, collages and drawings, Frail Sister is a rescued history of a missing woman’s life. As a child, Constance Gale is put to work with her sister, performing as musical prodigies during the Great Depression. As a teenager, she escapes the confines of her impoverished life by joining the U.S.O. and touring a ravaged Italy during World War II. Men—some kind, some nefarious, some an ineluctable cocktail—write to Constance, smitten by her stage persona. Letters to and from Constance expose not only the quotidian reality of war but also the ubiquitous brutality it throws into relief. After the war, she returns to an unsparing life in New York City in which the violence persists and her ghosts multiply.
In this exquisitely woven, epistolary and visual fiction, Green imagines for her aunt a childhood in which she is bold, reckless, perspicacious, mischievous; an adolescence ripe with desire and scarred by violation and loss; and an adulthood in which she strives to sing above the din. Nimble, unnerving and darkly funny, Frail Sister examines the thin membrane between resiliency and fragility, the love of family and its betrayals, bringing a forgotten life into focus.
“Frail Sister is a singular achievement that defies genre naming. Here image is formed by epistolary text which is informed by the unformed facts of actual lives reformed by fiction. Sisters in life and the men who admire, cajole or destroy them stand in for every woman who has felt missing, gone missing, found dead . . . This is a masterwork creating its own terms for existence—every page a marvelous and terrifying journey.”—Claudia Rankine
Frail Sister by Karen Green, hardback, 164 pages, full color throughout, 7.5 x 10. ISBN: 978-1-938221-19-4. Published: October 23. There is also a limited edition of 25 that includes an original work of art with a signed and numbered copy of the book.
Karen Green is an artist and writer whose inventive, hybrid image-text works narrate the intimate spaces of human experience. Her first book Bough Down earned numerous accolades and a devoted readership. She lives in Northern California and New York City.
2018 marks Siglio’s tenth year of of fiercely independent publishing, driven by its feminist ethos and its commitment to artists and writers who obey no boundaries, pay no fealty to trends and invite readers to see the world anew by reading word and image in provocative, unfamiliar ways. Siglio books—authored by Joe Brainard, Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, Sophie Calle, Karen Green, Dorothy Iannone, Ray Johnson, Jess, Nancy Spero, Cecilia Vicuña, among many others—have earned devoted readerships as well as critical accolades from New York Times, the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, and Bookforum among many others.