Calamari Archive, June 15, 2022
Also available from Asterism, Bookshop, etc.
NEWS, INTERVIEWS, ETC.
review by Mark Tardi in Full Stop
conversation with Jeff Alessandrelli in The Adroit Journal
12 or 20 questions, rob mclennan’s blog
Math Class playlist for Largehearted Boy
interview in Neon Garden
listed on Dennis Cooper’s favorite books of 2022 (so far) & featured again here & on his final 2022 list
#7 April-June & #10 July-August fiction best seller at SPD
“If I didn’t know Kelly Krumrie wrote Math Class, I would guess it was a phenomenological reduction of Madeline fan fiction co-authored by Raymond Queneau and Judy Blume in a parallel universe. Or an elaborate story problem from a geometry textbook détourning Lives of the Saints. What are the girls learning in Math Class? That the body is unsolvable. That God and Euclid never answer their questions. That adolescence has happened and is about to happen but is never that which is happening. Krumrie’s language proceeds via precise abstractions and marvelous mundanities, creating infinite new locations for the experience of anything at all.”
“Somewhere in the gap between correct answers and questions that can’t be formulated, girls are learning math. They aspire to seeing without taking notes. Girls go blind, do math, wage hunger strikes, weigh themselves, take field trips, do more math, eat or don’t eat, crochet, sprawl, swim, imagine electricity, wink, fail to understand the meaning of a wink, take photos of each other, and think. Everything is being measured and tracked, yet something mysterious remains, flickering, at the edge of what can be analyzed, known, or even registered in symbol systems. It isn’t yet clear what’s been lost. Math Class is meditative, fascinating, unnerving, a precisely rendered dream of a book, a wondrous gem reflecting mysteries and meanings wherever it goes.”
“Kelly Krumrie’s Math Class makes mathematical thinking tender, charming, full of longing, and strange. This book reminded me of things I love—Georges Perec’s writing, Amina Cain’s, Guillevic’s Geometries—but reading it was also something fresh and new.”
“The teenage girls in Kelly Krumrie’s Math Class could well be aspiring saints or geometers, with their transfigurative arcs and extremities, keen diagramming skills, shared visions, and acute bodily suffering. Can one chart an intricate web of friendships or unravel the track of a catastrophe? Adolescence is a vexed condition fraught with metamorphoses both terrible and holy, but these girls know how to plot the coordinates of their finite struggles and watch over one another with a sagacity that’s as intimate and precise as the hand-drawn grid of a note passed secretly at the back of a crowded classroom.”
“Math Class is a taut imbrication of storytelling and philosophical investigation thronged with a cohabiting sisterhood, at a place called St. Agatha’s, where they are engaged in reflections on perception; bodily dissolutions and repairs; and the poiesis of logical operations of mind. Nothing abstract is alien to them. The institution is no passive setting of study, but instead a kind of aporia. How are you, a counselor asks a student. “I’m— basically hollow, or a plane on which to graph something, the sound of a shell on the beach (your own blood), a machine, a piston, my arms oars, my mouth a nest, my chest a drum for turning concrete.” Interleaved throughout this elegant speculative fiction are drawings that recall the recessive and delicate geometrics of Paul Klee. These subtle sketches chart a course for the story’s alterity, glimmering with conjecture and truth-seeking.”