by Amina Cain

Hardcover, 2020




New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.


In "a strangely ageless world somewhere between Emily Dickinson and David Lynch" (Blake Butler), a cleaning woman at a museum of art 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-but she is now, however passively, forcing other women to clean up after her. Perhaps another and 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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member brangwinn
Weird” would be the way I would describe this short book, weird and introspective. The narrator is a cleaner at a museum. Although the city is never given nor whether the book is historical or contemporary, I pictured the city as being New York City. While cleaning, the narrator meets her wealthy
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husband and lives in a home where she spends her time as she wishes. As her love for her husband dims, she continues with her love of writing and in short pieces she describes paintings that have a relevance to her life. Amina Cain’s writing is flat and that mirrors the life of the narrator. She has two good friends, but even the friendships seem flat. But the introspection of the narrator brings to light emotions and thoughts many women might have.
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LibraryThing member arubabookwoman
Described by Amazon as a "feminist fable," this is the tale of Vittoria, a cleaning woman at a museum who wants to write about art, her reactions and thoughts on art. She marries a rich man, and has everything she wants, including time to explore and write about art, yet she is still unhappy.
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was not the book for me. There is no sense of place (and I'm coming to realize a sense of place in a novel is a very important element for me). There's a lake, she walks everywhere, there are museums and theaters, but it's not a city. I thought maybe it was set in Europe or South America, but the author is American. Nothing happens that makes any difference to anyone. We know Vittoria is dissatisfied with the marriage, but we have no sense of her character, how or why she married this rich man, what their relationship was, or is. She leaves the marriage to "find herself," but in the end the whole novel seemed pointless to me.

Not recommended.
2 stars
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LibraryThing member AngelaLam
I devoured this book in two days! This story touched my soul in a way no other story has. An introspective look at the life of a female writer and the expectations from society and others. A quest for freedom and a search for honesty. A tale destined to be part of the classic feminist literary
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