Indelicacy: A Novel
Date: February 2020
Duration: 3 hours 0 minutes
Amina Cain's extraordinary fiction has been said to take place in 'a strangely ageless world somewhere between Emily Dickinson and David Lynch' (Blake Butler), and this, her debut novel, is no exception. Indelicacy introduces us to a cleaning woman at an art museum who nurtures aspirations to do more than simply dust the paintings around her. She dreams of having the liberty to explore them in writing, and so must find a way to win herself the time and security to use her mind. She escapes her lot by marrying a rich man, but having gained a husband, a house, high society, and a maid, she finds that her new life of privilege is no less constrained. Not only has she taken up different forms of time-consuming labor-social and erotic-she is now, however passively, forcing other women to clean up after her. Perhaps another, more drastic solution is necessary.
Reminiscent of a lost Victorian classic in miniature, yet taking equal inspiration from such modern authors as Jean Rhys, Octavia Butler, Clarice Lispector, and Jean Genet, Amina Cain's Indelicacy is at once a ghost story without a ghost, a fable without a moral, and a down-to-earth investigation of the barriers faced by women in both life and literature. It is a novel about seeing, class, desire, anxiety, pleasure, friendship, and the battle to find one's true calling.