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Too Much and Not the Mood

9780374714680 fc
Paperback, FSG Originals, 2017
Durga chew bose

Durga Chew-Bose

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One of Vulture's "25 of the Most Exciting Book Releases for 2017"

One of Nylon's "50 Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2017"

An entirely original portrait of a young writer shutting out the din in order to find her own voice

On April 11, 1931, Virginia Woolf ended her entry in A Writer’s Diary with the words “too much and not the mood.” She was describing how tired she was of correcting her own writing, of the “cramming in and the cutting out” to please other readers, wondering if she had anything at all that was truly worth saying.

The character of that sentiment, the attitude of it, inspired Durga Chew-Bose to write and collect her own work. The result is a lyrical and piercingly insightful collection of essays and her own brand of essay-meets-prose poetry about identity and culture. Inspired by Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, Lydia Davis’s short prose, and Vivian Gornick’s exploration of interior life, Chew-Bose captures the inner restlessness that keeps her always on the brink of creative expression.

Too Much and Not the Mood is a beautiful and surprising exploration of what it means to be a first-generation, creative young woman working today.

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  • "[Chew-Bose] traverses the mazes of [mental] pathways like a brain archeologist, returning with shining fragments of memory . . . which she places next to, on top of, and inside of critical observations and feelings. In Too Much and Not the Mood, she is also a skilled analyst, articulating precisely concepts of daughterhood, friendship, and solitude . . . But Chew-Bose also allows herself to meander—to explore, as we all do in our most private moments, how her mind associates the immediate and the corporeal with the otherworldly."

    Vrinda Jagota, LitHub
  • "A collection of delightfully insightful essays . . . Whether Chew-Bose is riffing about her own difficult-to-pronounce name or dead squirrels, the bounty of the book lies below the surface, in the subterranean underworld of each essay. . . Chew-Bose seems to pay close attention while everyone else races ahead to the next thing, and she's generous with her findings. "

    Amanda Stern, Interview
  • “Our generation has no one else like Durga Chew-Bose: a cultural critic who isn't afraid to get personal, a romantic nostalgic with a lemony twist who applies her brilliance to life as it is currently lived. It's a profound and glorious relief to encounter this book.”

    Lena Dunham
  • “Durga Chew-Bose is our artist of beautifully distracted attention. Her sentences are like a procession of stills from the films she loves so much: each is a field of vivid color; a fraction as worthy of scrutiny as the whole; a delivery system for poetry as well as plot. To read Chew-Bose on Allen Iverson's annoyance, or on a premonitory twinge in the gut, or on the joys of living alone, is to be convinced—and, in the end, grateful—that good writing is a kind of sight. Chew-Bose sees unfailingly well. Too Much And Not the Mood is a stunning debut and, to me, the perfect paperback—it is the work of a mature and individual mind, insistent on the personal as well as the coolly philosophical, crafted to be carried around in pockets for years to come.”

    Vinson Cunningham
  • "This sharp and astute debut essay collection reveals a young author who is wise beyond her years and whose keen eye moves beyond tired tropes about identity struggles . . . brilliantly eloquent . . . [Chew-Bose] is an expert assessor—of moods, of situations, of her own writing, and her relationships . . . Her ample talent and keenly observed essays will surely win her followers, especially at a time and place when authenticity is a rare and much-valued currency."

    Poornima Apte, Booklist (starred review)
  • "I admire the fine and detailed quality of Durga Chew-Bose's prose, and her modesty of ego, which lingers in the mind. These essays are a refreshing contrast to those loud and showy voices, which are so common. One wants to lean closer to hear her."

    Sheila Heti
  • Too Much and Not the Mood is a tremendous comfort and a transporting experience. Durga Chew-Bose’s stunning prose elevates the subtleties of existence to a sphere that is both otherworldly and painfully recognizable, offering a panoramic view of her whole heart and mind. She is sure to leave her readers stunned.”

    Tavi Gevinson
  • "This sharp and astute debut essay collection reveals a young author who is wise beyond her years and whose keen eye moves beyond tired tropes about identity struggles . . . brilliantly eloquent . . . [Chew-Bose] is an expert assessor—of moods, of situations, of her own writing, and her relationships . . . Her ample talent and keenly observed essays will surely win her followers, especially at a time and place when authenticity is a rare and much-valued currency."

    Poornima Apte, Booklist (starred review)