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Beauty is Convulsive

The Passion of Frida Kahlo

List Price: $16.95

December 3, 2019 | Paperback | 5-1/2 x 8-1/4, 192 pages | ISBN 9781640092518
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“Maso’s incantatory description of her conjured–up subject’s embrace takes on extraordinary power . . . Like Frida Kahlo’s painting—impossible to look away from.” —Kai Maristed, Los Angeles Times

At the age of eighteen, Frida Kahlo’s life was transformed when the bus in which she was riding was hit by a trolley car. Pierced through by a steel handrail and broken in many places, she entered a long period of convalescence during which she began to paint self–portraits.

A vibrant series of prose poems, Beauty Is Convulsive is a passionate meditation on Frida Kahlo, one of the twentieth century’s most compelling artists. Carole Maso brings together pieces from Kahlo’s biography, her letters, medical documents, and her diaries to assemble a text that is as erotic, mysterious, and colorful as one of Kahlo’s paintings.

About Carole Maso

CAROLE MASO is the author of ten books: Ghost Dance, The Art Lover, AVA, The American Woman in the Chinese Hat, Defiance, Aureole, Break Every Rule, The Room Lit by Roses, Beauty is Convulsive, and Mother & Child. She has received numerous awards, including the Berlin Prize and the Lannan Literary Fellowship for fiction. Maso is currently a professor of English at Brown University.

Praise for Beauty is Convulsive

A Chicago Review of Books Best Book of the Month

"Maso's incantatory description of her conjured–up subject's embrace takes on extraordinary power . . . like Frida Kahlo's painting—impossible to look away from." —Kai Maristed, Los Angeles Times

"Maso repeatedly cites Rivera's description of Kahlo's art as ascetic and tender, hard as steel and fire and delicate as a butterfly's wing, adorable as a beautiful smile and profound and cruel as life's bitterness. Without a doubt, one might apply these same words to Maso's precise and poetic prose, which brims with emotion, imagination, intelligence, and beauty." —Trey Strecker, Review of Contemporary Fiction

"An utter original, one of the true and plangent voices in American writing." —Mary Gordon, author of There Your Heart Lies

"[A] consistently inventive writer. Maso's prose has generated wide respect, making this an important purchase for libraries with literary fiction collections." —Carolyn Kuebler, Library Journal

"There's been more than enough written on Kahlo to fill bookstore display tables. This . . . may be one of the best." —Publishers Weekly

"Maso, a highly original writer, distills her contemplation of Kahlo's indelible paintings and vital diaries and letters into a supple, discerning, and haunting prose poem, a biographical meditation that elegantly charts Kahlo's epic resiliency, artistic daring, unrelenting suffering, soul–saving ‘sense of the ridiculous,’ and glorious defiance. Maso's spare yet lyric tribute, a genuine communion, is a welcome antidote to the mawkishness and sensationalism that is starting to blur our appreciation for Kahlo's pioneering art and incandescent spirit." —Donna Seaman, Booklist

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