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Viv Albertine – To Throw Away Unopened

November 13, 2017 | by Hannah Marshall

Tags: Viv Albertine, faber and faber, to throw away unopened

On April 5th we publish To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine, the follow up to her best-selling memoir, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.

Mum’s last moments ruined; my relationship with my sister irredeemable; and possibly the loss of my thumb. All big losses but nothing compared to what I was fighting for. What was I fighting for, though? Even now I’m not sure. Something so old and so deep, it has no words, no shape, no logic.’

Every memoir is a battle between reality and invention – but in her follow up to Clothes, Music, Boys, Viv Albertine has reinvented the genre with her unflinching honesty.

To Throw Away Unopened is a fearless dissection of one woman’s obsession with the truth – the truth about family, power, and her identity as a rebel and outsider. It is a gaping wound of a book. An exercise in blood-letting and psychological archaeology, excavating what lies beneath: the fear, the loneliness, the anger. It is a brutal expose of human dysfunctionality, the impossibility of true intimacy, and the damage wrought upon us by secrets and revelations, siblings and parents.

Yet it is also a testament to how we can rebuild ourselves and come to face the world again. It is a portrait of the love stories that constitute a life, often bringing as much pain as joy. With the inimitable blend of humour, vulnerability, and intelligence that makes Viv Albertine one of our finest authors working today, To Throw Away Unopened smashes through layers of propriety and leads us into a new place of savage self-discovery.

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Praise for To Throw Away Unopened

‘I’m smitten with Viv Albertine’s beautiful, tough, ribald, unsparing memoir. It’s so rare to encounter writing this frank and fearless about love, violence, loneliness, mess of all kinds…A book for all ages and experiences’ Olivia Laing

‘Viv Albertine captures the texture, habits, and tics of working class life in mid-century London. Pivoting on a duet of startling end-of-life revelations, To Throw Away Unopened shows us the power and possibility of change. In any medium, Viv Albertine is a visionary cultural force.’ Chris Kraus

‘Crackling with anger and brimming with insight into the dirty business of art, family and being a woman in a hostile world.’ Eimear McBride

‘”Truth is splintered,” Viv Albertine tells us. It’s through this splintering, I suspect, that she’s able to lay hold of so very many truths. I don’t know any other writer who’s even half this honest – it’s this unsparing frankness that gives the book its lush power. Reading it I felt I was really out there on the ledge with her, feeling emboldened, and like both of us were a little less alone.’
Lauren Elkin