Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life
Paperback | Aug 2021 | Giramondo Publishing | 9781925818772 | 68pp | 210x148mm | GEN | AUD$19.95, NZD$24.99
From the discomfort of my own home I buy dresses, look up recipes, do online surveys.
In Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life, an unnamed young woman in her late twenties navigates unemployment, boredom, chronic illness and online dating. Her activities are banal — applying for jobs, looking up horoscopes, managing depression, going on Tinder dates.
‘I want to tell someone I love them but there is no one to tell,’ she says. ‘Except my sister maybe. I want to pick blackberries on a farm and then die.’ She observes the ambiguities of social interactions, the absurd intimacies of sex and the indignity of everyday events, with a skepticism about the possibility of genuine emotion, or enlightenment. Like life, things are just unfolding, and sometimes, like life, they don’t actually get better. Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle’s novella-in-fragments blends artifice with sincerity, is darkly funny, and alive to the incongruous performance that constitutes getting by.
'Written in a fragmentary form reminiscent of Renata Adler, Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life, Zarah Butcher-McCunningle’s deadpan fiction debut, documents an unnamed young protagonist’s listless existence in an unnamed city. The book’s droll dispatches from daily life under late capitalism recall the writing of the author’s New Zealand contemporaries Hera Lindsay Bird and Eamonn Marra, but Butcher-McCunnigle’s distinctive voice is her own... Nostalgia Has Ruined My Life is a grimly funny rendering of the absurdity of life in the 2020s—an era in which, with nowhere to turn, the hopeless millennial turns in on herself.' — Kelsey Oldham, Books+Publishing
Praise for Autobiography of a Marguerite:
‘Workbook for surviving illness, guide to familial dysfunction and an intersection between fact and fiction…one of the most innovative New Zealand books published in recent years.’ — Booknotes ‘Books of the Year’
‘The writing goes to the aching heart of disconnection and of longing for repair…Butcher-McGunnigle has created a crooked beauty out of shards.’ — takahē magazine