Pop Song: Adventures in Art & Intimacy (Hardcover)
"A fresh, energetic voice with a brilliant mind to power it," brings readers an endlessly inventive, intimate, and provocative memoir-in-essays that celebrates the strange and exquisite state of falling in love--whether with a painting or a person--and interweaves incisive commentary on modern life, feminism, art and sex with the author's own experiences of obsession, heartbreak, and past trauma (Esmé Weijun Wang, New York Times bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias).
Like a song that feels written just for you, Larissa Pham's debut work of nonfiction captures the imagination and refuses to let go.
Pop Song is a book about love and about falling in love--with a place, or a painting, or a person--and the joy and terror inherent in the experience of that love. Plumbing the well of culture for clues and patterns about love and loss--from Agnes Martin's abstract paintings to James Turrell's transcendent light works, and Anne Carson's Eros the Bittersweet to Frank Ocean's Blonde--Pham writes of her youthful attempts to find meaning in travel, sex, drugs, and art, before sensing that she might need to turn her gaze upon herself.
Pop Song is also a book about distances, near and far. As she travels from Taos, New Mexico, to Shanghai, China and beyond, Pham meditates on the miles we are willing to cover to get away from ourselves, or those who hurt us, and the impossible gaps that can exist between two people sharing a bed.
Pop Song is a book about all the routes by which we might escape our own needs before finally finding a way home. There is heartache in these pages, but Pham's electric ways of seeing create a perfectly fractured portrait of modern intimacy that is triumphant in both its vulnerability and restlessness.
About the Author
Larissa Pham is an artist and writer in Brooklyn. Born in Portland, Oregon, she studied painting and art history at Yale University. She has written essays and criticism for the Paris Review Daily, The Nation, Art in America, Guernica, and elsewhere. She was an inaugural Yi Dae Up fellowship recipient from the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She is also the author of Fantasian, a novella.
A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year
A Write or Die Tribe Most Anticipated Book of the Year
"Larissa Pham combines the thrilling and agonized travails of her young narrator with the lucid and steady eye of a born critic. The combination is a compelling portrait of one artist's development through the mirrors of her (and many of my) favorite artists. Pop Song is a bold and promising debut." —Melissa Febos
"Artist and lit world phenom Larissa Pham’s debut essay collection is like a literary mixtape, which makes its title all the more apt. In her pieces about travel, sex, loss, and inner work, Pham builds a magpie-like nest out of cultural references . . . a volume that feels comfortingly worn-in and relatably restless." —Keely Weiss, Harper's Bazaar
"There are a few different ways to experience transcendence in this life, and, in her debut book, Larissa Pham explores them all, from love to sex to art, never afraid to get up close and personal with the sublime. Pham's memoir-in-essays follows her as she finds escape in things and people and places; becomes obsessed, infatuated, in love; and figures out that her intense feelings surrounding books and albums and people were all related to her own journey toward accepting herself as being just as worthy of love—just as transcendent—as all of the many beautiful, wondrous things around her." ––Kristin Iversen, Refinery29, One of the Best New Books of the Year
"This book is crushing, cathartic, and utterly enchanting. It’s one of those books that finds us unexpectedly at our deepest end, as if in waiting. Pham possesses a gravity that is entirely her own, pulling you into her orbit and into the arms of someone who knows what it’s like to be sundered by this world . . . [Pop Song] marks the advent of a merciful, miraculous writer." —Paris Close, Paperback Paris
"Larissa Pham is a fresh, energetic voice with a brilliant mind to power it. There are so many times in my past when reading Pop Song could have saved my life. It may very well save yours." —Esmé Weijun Wang, New York Times bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias