Carola Dibbell - On the other side of Aldous Huxley's brave new world is Carola Dibbell's braver one, all the more unsettling (and maybe even more profound) for being not five hundred years from now but five minutes, in a time at once beyond our control and too immediate to escape


Carola Dibbell, The Only OnesTwo Dollar Radio, 2015.                             


robertchristgau.com/u/cd/
caroladibbell.com/


Inez wanders a post-pandemic world, strangely immune to disease, making her living by volunteering as a test subject. She is hired to provide genetic material to a grief-stricken, affluent mother, who lost all four of her daughters within four short weeks. This experimental genetic work is policed by a hazy network of governmental ethics committees, and threatened by the Knights of Life, religious zealots who raze the rural farms where much of this experimentation is done.
When the mother backs out at the last minute, Inez is left responsible for the product, which in this case is a baby girl, Ani. Inez must protect Ani, who is a scientific breakthrough, keeping her alive, dodging authorities and religious fanatics, and trying to provide Ani with the childhood that Inez never had, which means a stable home and an education.
With a stylish voice influenced by years of music writing, The Only Ones is a time-old story, tender and iconic, about how much we love our children, however they come, as well as a sly commentary on class, politics, and the complexities of reproductive technology.


"On the other side of Aldous Huxley's brave new world is Carola Dibbell's braver one, all the more unsettling (and maybe even more profound) for being not five hundred years from now but five minutes, in a time at once beyond our control and too immediate to escape. Brilliantly conceived, passionately defiant, deeply felt, The Only Ones introduces — in the form of central character Inez Fardo — one of the most memorable and compelling first-person voices in recent American fiction."
Steve Erickson

"A bracing, tough minded, farsighted novel about bravery and endurance, motherhood and the way life goes on even after the world ends. Every sentence pierces."—Kelly Link

"This is an enthralling journey through a near future, plague filled landscape, presented with such gritty clarity and such a darkly humorous eye for detail that it feels completely real. Inez' deadpan account of her heroic struggle to keep her daughter alive in the ruins of Brooklyn and Queens - a devastated but curiously familiar world, filled with maddening school bureaucracies and public transport that never comes - becomes a fantastic portrait of what it is to raise a child."—Mary Harron

"Dibbell tells this story with intensity and color, through a voice that is as shattered and alive as the world she has created, exploring universal themes of sacrifice, love, and the fragile yet persistent will to survive. At times, The Only Ones feels large, small, sweeping and intimate, scary and full of hope. Dense and vivid, smart and thought-provoking."—Charles Yu


Dibbell’s debut novel chillingly imagines the world in the wake of a global pandemic in the latter part of the 21st century, when much of the population has been wiped out by a potent combination of viruses and bacterial infections that includes tuberculosis, polio, and Ebola. The reader views this apocalyptic abyss through the eyes of Inez Kissena Fardo, a young woman from Queens, N.Y., who has never known a normal existence—she has never even seen a baby. Reproductive ability has been annihilated, and fetuses are made in a lab. Instead of parents there are “clients”; mothers have become “hosts,” and fathers are now “male product.” Inez, who is immune to infection, becomes part of Rauden Sach’s team of baby makers for paying customers. When other methods fail, Rauden resorts to cloning her, and complications ensue. The futuristic trials of motherhood are eerily familiar; Inez spends her days rushing from one low-wage job to the next to pay for her daughter’s schooling, clothes, and the things she needs to keep up with her friends. The book illuminates present-day paranoias, but it is further elevated by Dibbell’s trenchant attention to the corrosive nature of social and economic inequality. - Publishers Weekly

I started researching The Only Ones long before I ever dreamed of writing it. From 1974 till 1984, I consulted half a dozen doctors and an acupuncturist, had three surgical procedures and took dozens of tests, who knows how many medications, and a lot of unsolicited advice, in the attempt to conceive a child. At a time when there were far fewer books about infertility than there are now, I published a long essay based on the handful that had come my way. By the time my husband and I adopted a baby girl, in 1985, I had a working knowledge of the logistics and language of assisted conception including reproductive hormones, artificial insemination, and the then new field of in vitro (which I did not pursue). I also had some gut experience of the bizarre and sometimes cruel attitudes people may bring to the subject.
I assumed I’d put all that behind me as I began my first heady years as a mother, but a set of scandals about illegal or contested adoptions and surrogacies soon made headlines, and I found myself in many uncomfortable conversations about nature versus nurture and who was a “real” mother. Once again, I read what books and articles I could. Canadian sociologist H. David Kirk, author of Shared Fate and Adoptive Kinship and himself an adoptive father, was one of few to explore adoption theory with the hard-headedness and vision I craved. Besides clear-eyed observations of nature/nurture in his own family, he probed the peculiar prominence of adoption in myth and fiction.
Meanwhile, in the 80s and 90s, genes themselves were becoming news — gene patenting and engineering, genome mapping. Stem cell was adding new ethical controversies to the ones that already surrounded abortion, and advances in reproductive technology seemed to be taking the field right up to science fiction. All of these experiences — the years of infertility treatments, those headline dramas and ethics shouting matches, as well as my own adventures as a parent among other parents with their own fears and insecurities — were in my mental files by the time I had the idea to write a science-fictionish novel about a single mother raising her own clone.
None of the later research I did had anywhere near as much impact on the book I eventually wrote as my personal need to understand the various ways we are parents, and related, and ourselves. But I did in fact research like crazy. I was working in genre, but I wanted my story to have some hard-science credibility. Cloning itself proved graspable for anyone with a working knowledge of in vitro. Gina Kolata’s The Clone Age was a good read which provided a history of cloning, a visit to Dolly the cloned sheep, and the inspiration to make my mad scientist a livestock veterinarian. Most of the books and articles I picked up here and there about cloning as well as genes and genetic engineering tended to be preachy and not terribly informative. But Matt Ridley’s Genome was a very brainy exception, even if I took nothing tangible from it except a feel for how a brainy person like my livestock vet might think. The Only Ones was in late draft by the time I happened upon a piece by Wendy Goldman Rohm in Wired, a step by step account of one cloning attempt, far and away the most specific description I’d come across. Some of its details worked their way into a cloning scene that I’d already written.
The gestation I’d dreamed up involved an artificial uterus — a possibility pregnancy guides don’t cover — but two books by Peter W. Nathanielsz offered useful information about life in the womb, including intriguing studies that showed how environmental factors can affect even conventional pregnancies. I used the accounts and images in those books and The First Nine Months of Life by Geraldine Lux Flanagan to help visualize the fetus in a laboratory situation that I wanted to show as both outlandish and familiar. I also picked up some nitty-grit about egg donation in a fine article I read so long ago I’ve lost the author’s name. I still remember its level tone about one egg donor’s experiences, and the useful attention to physical details. I’d been injected with some of the same hormones myself.
Because plotting logistics had led me to a story involving pandemics and immunity, I read various encyclopedia articles about the great Swine Flu pandemic of 1918, plus some pop science books like Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone, from which I learned about filoviruses long before the recent Ebola crisis. But hereditary immunities were harder to get a bead on, and when I found myself at a cocktail party with a journalist who’d written about AIDS immunity in Africa, I just walked right up and picked his brain. In fact, waylaying experts at parties or conferences became a useful if embarrassing strategy in the thorniest research I faced: what would a pandemic dystopia actually be like? Imagining energy depletion in a devastated future, I did manage to research alternative possibilities. The problem was, I didn’t know how most things worked when they did work — electricity, cell phones, transportation systems. I thought a children’s book, How Things Work, might be on my level, but I remained so ignorant I just went back to Samuel Delany and Bruce Sterling, whose realistic-seeming dystopias offered models for how to fudge the details.
Finally, I read or reread novels with uneducated narrators like my own Inez Fardo — Anita Loos’s urbane Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Damon Runyon’s Broadway sketches, and the one-of-a-kind Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban, which narrates a post-apocalyptic future in a phonetic version of Midlands English, jazzed up with idiosyncratic capitalizations. I had already read narratives of mothers in hard times, Elsa Morante’s History: A Novel and James McBride’s memoir, The Color of Water. Now I treated myself to perhaps my third reread of Margaret Drabble’s The Millstone, a ground-breaking little novel that in the early 60s proved not only that a 19th century novel could be written about a 20th century British academic clueless enough to engage a reader’s sympathies, but that out-of-wedlock pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering was at least as fit a subject for great fiction as war, romantic love, or chasing large fish. - Carola Dibbell


Some of fiction writer Carola Dibbell’s earliest work includes short stories in The Paris Review and The New Yorker. However, for those of us who cherish a smooth beat equally as expertly navigated syntax, Dibbell’s name might be most recognizable for the music writing that she published for years in The Village Voice, including essays reviewing several New York super-acts in their prime, such as Blondie, Run DMC, Lou Reed and Patti Smith. Now, in her latest piece of short fiction “Rini’s Child” (published in Black Clock 16, on shelves in February 2013), Dibbell has created the narrator Inez, whose unforgettable voice and unique dialect guides readers through a catastrophic near-future riddled with infertility, distrust and pandemic. Recently, Dibbell let us pick her brain about “Rini’s Child,” the subject of music and books and how these two favorite interests of ours might (or might not) influence each other.
BLACK CLOCK: You wrote rock criticism on and off for thirty years and have spoken before about the leakage between fiction and music writing. Can you explain what you mean by that? What role has music played in your fiction?
CAROLA DIBBELL:
In the early seventies, I was surprised and impressed by the rock writing in Dave Marsh’s and Lester Bangs’ Creem, and a little later in the Village Voice music section, edited by Robert Christgau, my husband. In this fledgling and disreputable form, you could be vulgar, personal, amateurish and formally ambitious all at once and actually be read. It gave me a chance to do things with the voice and tone and disorder I was already exploring in fiction that was not actually read. It took longer for me to bring those rock critic elements into my fiction except, I suppose, that writing about pop led me to contemplate genre fiction. Then, in the late nineties, when my fiction was going nowhere, I made a conscious decision to let the rock critic write the fiction, sort of, and the fiction changed a lot. Music itself is a different question, which I will get to later.
BLACK CLOCK: Do you think that music critics approach writing much differently than other writers?
CAROLA DIBBELL: I suppose I’ve read jazz or rock reviews that evoke rather than analyze their subject in a way book or film criticism is less likely to, but I wouldn’t want to generalize. It’s also true that describing a sound is a special kind of challenge. And reviewers of beat-driven music sometimes need to deal with the critical question of whether the piece under discussion makes you want to get up and move, which might not come up so much in other kinds of critical disciplines. Though it could.
BLACK CLOCK: In your latest story, “Rini’s Child,” the narrator, Inez, has a unique speech pattern. What particular genre of music, if any, did Inez’s speech develop from, and how has that music been specifically emulated within the story’s prose? Did you plan this in advance, or did it happen naturally while you were writing?
CAROLA DIBBELL:
I invented Inez for the novel “Rini’s Child” is adapted from, The Only Ones. I wanted a character who would work interestingly inside the premise, which is, briefly, reproductive experimentation in a dystopic setting, with the narrator a “donor” who ends up an unplanned mother. As a writer, I was getting sick of my arty bohemian protagonists, and as a parent dealing with onslaughts of standardized tests, I was also pondering intelligence. Inez’s voice is mainly about her as a character—apparently ignorant, possibly damaged, but extremely observant for all she expresses herself so awkwardly. I spent years loving punk, where stiffness was often a positive thing, so perhaps that influenced my vision of her stiffness and jerky rhythms, but my distaste for literary smoothness goes way back, and I am always messing with rhythms and rhythmic logic. While I was getting into the voice, one hip hop line kept rolling around my head: “My mind is playin tricks on me,” from the Geto Boys. Not sure it gets across written out, but spoken it has an almost but not quite conversational beat I wished I could incorporate into Inez’s flow. Don’t think I ever did, though. There was really a lot of trial and error while I figured out what I was doing, especially with the grammatical quirks.
When I was extracting “Rini’s Child” from a chapter in the novel, I did think about how songs work, especially the kind where the volume cranks way up in the last verse. But that build is also a convention in some science fiction stories—and, just to be clear, I thought more about Bruce Sterling and Ursula Le Guin than any kind of music as I conceived this project. Sometimes it’s more about the vision and ideas than the sound. Theodore Dreiser’s masterful gaffes and epic outsiderness. Doris Lessing’s courage. I actually think about her all the time.
BLACK CLOCK:
Did any other genres of music influence the way you construct your narratives? Any specific artists or groups that you’ve spent a lot of time listening to over the years?
CAROLA DIBBELL: There was a point in my life when I thought my literary voice was related to what female groups like the McGarrigles or the Roches were doing. These days, as my writing voice gets odder, I feel more affinities with Brazilian Tom Zé’s wavery, scratchy vocals, or possibly the Velvets’ offkeys and bluntness, but that’s pretty subjective if not totally out to lunch, and I’d be surprised if anyone even knew what I meant by it. I often like projects that use or simulate ambient sound, like Los Lobos’ work with Tchad Blake, or Cornershop, and I sometimes try to bring that feeling or flavor into my writing. I’m currently smitten with the great unknown Cincinnati band Wussy, who have almost nothing in common with what I do, except maybe low-rent settings.
BLACK CLOCK:
How about the other way around: has any literature affected the way you listen to music?
CAROLA DIBBELL:
There is a lot of chicken and egg in the influence question—and we haven’t even talked about cartoons and movies—but it’s possible my love of Dickens affected my taste for cockney punks.
BLACK CLOCK: When the word “prose” is used to describe fiction writing it might generally be assumed that the language is not particularly metrical, lyrical, or musical. However, your writing is obviously very sound conscious. Should we call it something other than “prose”?
CAROLA DIBBELL:
I think almost all prose has some music in it. I tend to prefer less obviously musical prose—Defoe over Fielding, Hammett over Chandler. Lists, facts. Detective procedurals. With some exceptions, if it’s not verse and has a plot, I call it fiction, and I hope that’s what I wrote in “Rini’s Child.” But I’m glad if readers notice and care about the rhythms, which I put so much work into. On the other hand, if they didn’t notice and liked the story for some other reason, I’m glad, too.
BLACK CLOCK: Do you actively listen to music while writing?
CAROLA DIBBELL: I never listen to music while writing and rarely while reading. In my daily life, though, it’s on pretty much all the time.
BLACK CLOCK: Are there any specific songs, artists, or albums that you think produce the same mood as the story’s language?
CAROLA DIBBELL:
There are certainly artists who make sounds that remind me of some of what I try to do. MIA using young aboriginal voices on Kala. Cornershop—say, Handcream for a Generation, and Los Lobos spinoff Latin Playboys as well as their Colossal Head. Pere Ubu’s dissonant and jerky Dub Housing. In spirit, the scuzz and scrappiness of Maureen Tucker’s solo work is on some kind of wavelength, and “Babydog,” from the Raincoats’ Looking in the Shadows, is a great song about infertility. But look. Why not just give Wussy’s Funeral Dress II a listen? What’s to lose?
BLACK CLOCK:
What are you working on now and where can we look for your writing in the future?
CAROLA DIBBELL: My agent is currently shopping The Only Ones. I’m feeling around a few new ideas but not sure what I’ll do next. It could be something quite different. - blackclock.org/blog/2013/crank-up-the-volume-carola-dibbell-discusses-two-of-our-favorite-things-2/


In March 2015, we’re publishing a debut novel called The Only Ones. It’s by a writer named Carola Dibbell, who has had fiction published in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, Fence, and Black Clock. But she’s probably best known as a critic, having written about music for the Village Voice and many other periodicals.
The Only Ones follows Inez, who wanders a post-pandemic world, strangely immune to disease, making her living by volunteering as a test subject. She is hired to provide genetic material to a grief-stricken, affluent mother, who lost all four of her daughters within four short weeks. This experimental genetic work is policed by a hazy network of governmental ethics committees, and threatened by the Knights of Life, religious zealots who raze the rural farms where much of this experimentation is done.
When the mother backs out at the last minute, Inez is left responsible for the product, which in this case is a baby girl, Ani. Inez must protect Ani, who is a scientific breakthrough, keeping her alive, dodging authorities and religious fanatics, and trying to provide Ani with the childhood that Inez never had, which means a stable home and an education.
With a stylish voice influenced by years of music writing, The Only Ones is a time-old story, tender and iconic, about how much we love our children, however they come, as well as a sly commentary on class, politics, and the complexities of reproductive technology. It is an outstanding book, grand in scope, relatable, heartbreaking, accessible, that I know will turn a lot a lot of heads.
Following is a Q+A with Dibbell.=
Inez is one of the most memorable and charming characters that I’ve encountered in recent literature. Her voice is so distinctive and fresh, raw and human.  
Inez was a surprise to me—I was really just fooling around with language in the early stages of The Only Ones when I got into her voice. Then she ended up running the show. 
I already knew the novel’s basic subject and themes—a reproductive experiment set in a dystopic future—but this was going to be different from anything I’d ever done before, and I was trying to get the hang of the thing, how many parts realistic, how many parts genre or experimental? This was not long after my daughter had completed the rite of passage known as the SATs, and I’d been pondering what dumb ideas people have about intelligence, so I suppose that was in the back of my mind when I decided to see how the story sounded from a narrator who was barely literate but unpredictably smart.   
I got very literal about how literate she would actually be. I had a sudden vision of early grade-school notebooks with their odd mixture of formality and amazing mistakes, tried some of that, added slang and swagger plus background details that would make sense, and once I’d been in that voice for a page or two, I knew I was never going anywhere else. It was deadpan and funny but touching. The logic was crazy. It was so much fun. And that was before I even understood how having someone like Inez tell the story would take it to a bigger, wilder, more surprising place. She was so open, so game. If she wasn’t going to be a tragic victim of the complicated reproductive drama the plot turns on, she’d have to be some kind of hero.  
You wrote about music for many years. In an interview with Black Clock, you suggest that Inez’s “stiffness and jerky rhythms,” as well as your “distaste for literary smoothness ” were influenced at least in some small part by punk and hip hop.
I loved punk and spent years in CBGBs listening to bands and writing about them and often wondered how punk elements could translate into fiction.  A lot of early punks knew about minimalism and dada and French movies but had a potentially commercial pop flavor that interested me. They were rebels, nothing new in rock and roll. But they were funny about it, always aware of limits, including their own, and they did such great things with those limits, you were glad they didn’t know more chords.  It’s not that my literary tastes didn’t already run to inelegant writers like Dreiser but this spare, loud, bristly music gave me new ideas.  
I suppose you could say that Inez is a punk herself—a tough little hero from Queens with a funny voice. She  does a thing with tenses as weird as the way Joey Ramone pronounces words. Her limits read as hooks. You could also say that as a writer, I learned a lot from punk about using the chords I had. Trouble with pacing?  Be abrupt. Rush through. Just keep a strong beat. I learned things about flow from hip hop, too. You can find your rhythms in ordinary conversation. But always hang them from a beat.
The Only Ones is a very visually arresting read, and you do an incredible job of creating this post-pandemic world that feels almost too tangible, too probable. Were there any visuals that anchored or propelled the story, or that you returned to for inspiration?
I worked with two maps taped to the wall, Queens and central New York state—the main locations where the novel takes place—and I referred to them often. I always tried to picture my characters traveling back and forth by way of a deeply dysfunctional transportation system. I reread David Copperfield as I wrote and sometimes think I internalized the way distances work in that novel, where people routinely walk miles at a clip, all the way across London just to visit a friend. I also spent time riding around Queens with a notebook. Queens is an amazing place, full of place names just waiting for dystopia. Ozone Park! Utopia Parkway!
I got ideas about dystopia from Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren, where post-apocalyptic anarchy combines with odd pockets of civilization, and from Bruce Sterling, whose high-tech futures are rendered credible by persistent glitches. Later, pondering the mad scientists I’d dreamed up, chubby veterinarians living in Quonset huts in upstate New York, I wondered if I’d been channeling hobbits.   
And there were always memories of 9/11. The smell, the dust., the barricades. Katrina, too.  The book was essentially done by the time Sandy hit my neighborhood. But it did seem all too familiar, when it came.
Once you peel back the layers – the post-pandemic setting, the cloning – there is at the heart of The Only Ones a relatable mother-daughter story that is tender and powerful. You wrote a piece for the Village Voice about infertility and motherhood; how did your own experience inform or influence the nature of this story?
My own experiences of infertility and adoption definitely inspired and drove this novel.  The Voice piece ran in the early ’80s, at a time when infertility was just entering the public conversation, and it was a way for me to tangle with the superstition, ignorance and shame I’d encountered in my own years trying to conceive a child. Once my husband and I went on to adopt a baby girl, I never wanted to go public with that personal story which I felt belonged to my daughter as much as me. But as adoption scandals and custody cases made headlines during her childhood, I puzzled over nature/nurture, genes, bonding, and what love has to do with it. When I began to try my hand at speculative fiction fairly late in my career, I realized that the old sci-fi clone theme would be a way for me to tackle those questions. Cloning is, after all, about a parent and child whose genes don’t line up in the conventional way. And as I dug into The Only Ones, at a time when reproductive technology was already starting to seem like science fiction, I saw my story as a parable for all kinds of unconventional families—biracial, single parent, same-sex parent, not to mention kids conceived in vitro, or from sperm or egg donors, or gestated by surrogates—different in some ways. In other ways, not different at all.   
Did you do a lot of research?
A lot.                                                                               
Cloning was actually the easiest part to understand. I read up on Dolly and other experiments, brought my in vitro research up to date, read an interview with an egg donor and some very interesting studies about varieties of in utero gestation. I researched pandemics and immunities. The hardest part for me, in writing about a world where so much has stopped working, was to have some notion of how things work when they do work. I finally resorted to a children’s book to help me out, How Things Work.
You’ve only had a few stories published, but they’ve been in extremely reputable venues – The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Black Clock, and Fence. Have you not written much fiction, or do you find that you need to achieve some balance between your fiction and non-fiction work?
I am a very slow writer.
But I do have other completed projects I would dearly like to see out in the world. A memoir from so far back I called it a non-fiction novel.  A novel I rewrote and rewrote. A novella. Other short pieces.
All this work is interesting and good, and like many interesting and good writers, I could not get the work in print.  It’s always part of how I understand what I do. It’s part of how I understand what other novelists do.  We’re working novelists even if we’re not published novelists.
The Only Ones is your debut novel, and we’ve scheduled it to publish in March 2015, which is a month before your 70th birthday. That’s pretty rad.
Having said all that about the dignity of unrecognized labor, let me be clear. It is a life-changing event to have  work I’ve put so much into about to head out in the world. I find myself thinking I should finally start cardio workouts so I’ll be alive to write the next novel. I think about the shape of a life with this late-breaking twist.  It is very, very sweet.
It also would have been sweet at sixty.
Even fifty.  - twodollarradio.tumblr.com/post/87596647931/in-march-2015-were-publishing-a-debut-novel


Fiction

  • A Misunderstanding
  • Healing Grace
  • Surviving Death (i)
  • Surviving Death (ii)
  • Surviving Death (iii)
  • Surviving Death (iv)
  • Surviving Death (v)
  • Surviving Death (vi)
  • [Real Piece of Work]


  • Music Essays/Reviews


    For the twenty-odd years I wrote rock criticism, I was always working on one piece of fiction or another, and there was leakage both ways. In the early years punk was my big interest and it sometimes got into my fiction as odd rhythms, a taste for DIY. I also learned things about narrative flow from hip-hop. I wouldn't love naturalist novelists like Theodore Dreiser, Willa Cather and Christina Stead without their grip on facts, but what drew me to them was not unlike what draws me to Malian music, with its endless repetitions and vocal plateaus. I'm much less interested in stories about the world of rock and pop than prose or tone that embodies it--The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, with its nerd trash and subtitles. Junot Diaz wrote that book like a rock critic! That's a compliment!
    All the tone mixing, vulgarity, earnestness, and hair-splitting that rock critics could get paid for back then helped me reconcile literary ambition with the awkward need to be myself. Taking pop music seriously led naturally to taking genre fiction seriously--Le Carré's density, Hammett's harsh clarity, the everyday rhythms of police procedurals, the odd mental spaces built by SF writers like Samuel Delany and Ursula LeGuin. And, though it took a while, over the past fifteen years, my own fiction finally turned speculative.
    I started posting fiction here when it began to look like this website might be the only public life most of it would have--a novella, [Real Piece of Work]; a story, "Surviving Death"; and "Healing Grace," which had appeared in The New Yorker. (A long story, "A Misunderstanding," which The Paris Review published years ago, is incomplete here.) Then Fence excerpted the novella, I did some readings, and not long after finished The Only Ones, a near-future novel which is now being shopped by my energetic and simpatico young agent.
    "Dear Ann and Evelyn" is an old statement of purpose about being a woman in the guyville of early rock criticism. "Inside Was Us: Women in American Punk," was included in Trouble Girls: The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock. The rest of the music writing here appeared mainly in The Village Voice, as did the book reviews I wrote for VLS in the M. Mark years. "Thinking About the Inconceivable" was a personal piece about infertility in the guise of a book review, and many of its ideas appear in new guise in The Only Ones.
    I live in an old East Village apartment with Robert Christgau, my husband since 1974, and our daughter, Nina Dibbell Christgau. - robertchristgau.com/u/cd/index.php

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