“Darkness had completely descended onto the landscape and I stood up and stretched my arms above my head and I wondered what it would be like if it were a perfect world. Only god knows. And he is dead”
The powerful, personal and iconoclastic memoir of David Wojnarowicz, AIDS activist, author and one of the most provocative artists of his generation. With a new introduction by Olivia Laing.
I am glad I am alive to witness these things; giving words to this life of sensations is a relief. Smell the flowers while you can.
Close to the Knives is the artist, writer and activist David Wojnarowicz’s extraordinary memoir. Filthy, beautiful, and sharp to the point of piercing, it is both an exploration of the world seen through the eyes of an artist, and a moving portrait of a generation living, grieving, and dying through the AIDS crisis. It is a triumphant hymn of resistance, and a dizzying celebration of the joys of seeing and living in the world.
“David Wojnarowicz has caught the age-old voice of the road, the voice of the traveller, the outcast, the thief, the whore … Pick up this book and listen”
William S. Burroughs
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“My book of a lifetime, my book for these dark times, an antidote to stupidity, cruelty and oppression of all kinds”
“Wojnarowicz’s writing fairly smokes with acrid ironies. It’s passionate and personal”
new York Magazine
“David Wojnarowicz is brilliantly attuned to American talk and responsive to the moods and innovations of society’s truants. He also has the best conscience of any writer I know. This fierce, erotic, haunting, truthful book should be given to every teenager immediately”
“Everyone should read Close to the Knives to understand the overall political agenda behind suffering … This isn’t just David’s story, it’s our story”
David Wojnarowicz authored five books. His artwork is in numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, among other institutions. In addition to his artwork, Wojnarowicz attained national prominence as a writer and advocate for AIDS awareness, and for his stance against censorship. He died from AIDS in 1992.