An unnamed, unemployed, dream-prone narrator finds himself following Chevauchet, diplomat of Onirica, a foreign republic of dreams, to resist a prohibition on sleep in near-future America. On a mission to combat the state-sponsored drugging of citizens with uppers for greater productivity, they traverse an eerie landscape in an everlasting autumn, able to see inside other people’s nightmares and dreams. As Comprehensive Illusion – a social media-like entity that hijacks creativity – overtakes the masses, Chevauchet, the old radical, weakens and disappears, leaving our narrator to take up Chevauchet's dictum that "daydreaming is directly subversive” and forge ahead on his own.
In slippery, exhilarating and erudite prose, The Eyelid revels in the camaraderie of free thinking that can only happen on the lam, aiming to rescue a species that can no longer dream.
"S. D. Chrostowska achieves unexpected buoyancy in spite of the intensity of her material. Permission, certain to be among the most formally adventurous books published this year, will thrill readers of fearless stylists like Blanchot, Barthes, and Anne Carson. In its obsessive intricacy, it evokes even earlier forbears: those wonderfully melancholy European humanists, Thomas Browne and Robert Burton.' Every Library is a haunted cemetery,' writes F. Wren, the narrator of Permission. This fine and perplexing novel is itself something between a library and a cemetery, spinning around the hauntings of desire, the confusions of memory, the ambiguities of solitude and, above all, the mystery of writing." — Teju Cole
Praise for Matches:
“The vision of history illuminating these pages is not the conventional one of progress, but the much more
radical one of Rousseauism: a ‘left-wing nostalgia’ that performs a detour through the past—a world anterior to privilege and hypocrisy—with the aim not of restoring it, but of giving it a radically new form.” — Michael Löwy, Le Monde diplomatique
“…Chrostowska has written in Matches a refreshing, consistently thoughtful work that usefully questions entrenched assumptions about the nature of criticism…” — Daniel K. Green, LA Review of Books
“There are books that have the ability to throw your whole life into question, but these are the terms of engagement.... In the weeks I spent reading Matches I was more jittery than usual, my mind constantly reeling. I felt like I was on the edge of something, though I could not tell what that might be. I am always behaving badly, but this was different. I wanted to quarrel, I needed to question everything. Books seemed to be ruining my life....But I love changing my mind.” — Anna Zalokostas, Full Stop
“A truly thorough examination of Matches: A Light Book would map all the terrain and take an unusual form: a multi-week course containing lectures, slides, video, theatre, playtime, and interactivity. S. D. Chrostowska is a writer of importance, and with this work she has raised her own personal bar.” — Jeff Bursey, Numéro Cinq
“A must-read for aficionados of the fragment and of literary critical experiments for the breadth of its subject matter and its style.” — Alexander Kluge (endorsement, 2015)
“S.D. Chrostowska’s Matches: A Light Book is a lambent marvel. The text interlaces a finely wrought poetic sensibility with a rare conceptual acuity. The literary beauty and philosophical rigor that permeate Chrostowska’s apodictic constellation of fragments, aphorisms, and thought-images make her work a worthy heir to a tradition of transformative aphoristic writing and thinking that includes such masterpieces as Nietzsche’s Human, All Too Human, Benjamin’s One-Way Street, Adorno’s Minima Moralia, Bloch’s Traces, and Blanchot’s The Writing of the Disaster. The many matches that the text lights never fail to illuminate—and in the process also to consume—the heterogeneous thoughts and experiences to which they attend. Chrostowska’s high-wire literary performance reminds us that, in our administered world of techno-capitalist sameness, the last word may not yet have been spoken after all.” — Gerhard Richter, Brown University (endorsement)
“An elegant and agile meditation on thinking, writing and reading in the twenty-first century. Chrostowska’s sharp and original Matches will light readers’ imaginations on fire and keep them burning long after they’ve put the book down.” — Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies, University of Alberta