These hybrid writings, staged as they are between fiction and theory, the domestic and history, abstractions and androgeny, the rational and the nonrational, the creator and her artifact, organize themselves against normative ideas while using whatever tolls of novelistic, philosophic, autobiographical, or poetic discourse present themselves to advance their tellings. Concepts such as narrative, character, and binary thinking are manipulated and scrutinized but not adhered to methodically. The writing is also a response to literature and the things of the world: it does not separate one off from the other. Marquis de Sade, rocks, Balzac, war, Lautremont, amazons, Jane Austen, news, Jan Bowles, utopias, Ludwig Wittgenstein, child's play, Saint Augustine, censorship are probable points on its strange map. in the world of this work, words themselves may become characters and instincts are regarded as if they were books. Complex ideas and simple rheetorics mingle, yielding impure theories, precarious stories, and fabulist games. —Carla Harryman, 1995, Preface
"Carla Harryman is a great wide-awake visionary–reading her is like playing Olympic ping-ping in eight dimensions! In her work we encounter the libido's fierce games: the willful sense and non-sense, the endless reversibility. Rampant story and rhetoric (our culture's self-descriptions) are raised up, then promptly guillotined for crimes against honesty. Through this florescence of creation and destruction, Harryman wages one of contemporary writing's most radical critiques." —Robert Glück
"There Never Was a Rose Without a Thorn is a work of magical intelligence and wit, opening up words and ideas in ways that are both startling and moving. Carla Harryman folds out ideas revealing more meanings and connections than seem possible, yet each new image settles irrevocably inside us, no experience, either literary or personal, remains the same once you've traveled through the worlds she creates. Her newest work is an alchemical gem that sparkles." —Jewell Gomez
Carla Harryman is a poet, playwright, and fiction writer. Her works include Memory Play, Animal Instincts, In the Mode of, Vice, The Middle, Property, Under the Bridge, and Percentage. She studied at UC Santa Barbara and San Francisco State University. In 1979 she co-founded the San Francisco Poets Theater. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Eastern Michigan University.