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Blueberries
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About the Author

Ellena Savage is an Australian author and academic. She is the author of the chapbook Yellow City (The Atlas Review, 2019) and numerous essays, stories, and poems published in literary journals internationally. Ellena is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, including most recently the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship 2019-2021. She lives in Athens, Greece, with her husband, Dominic Amerena.

Reviews

'In this electric collection of personal essays, Savage leads readers through a range of subjects ... There is so much to admire in Savage's literary style ... Savage deftly shifts between stylistic devices, narrative voices, and time, and the result is breathtaking ... The collection, for all its differences in tone, content, and structure, comes together beautifully.'

-- Roz Bellamy * The Guardian *

'Savage explores the sites of identity - trauma, gender, class, religion, the body - in clear rhythmic prose.'

-- Natasha Randall * TLS *

'Ellena Savage is savagely smart and talented.'

-- Rachel Kushner, author of The Mars Room

'Ellena Savage is a rare kind of true intellectual, a voice that rises above the cacophony with remarkable insight. In Blueberries she cuts fearless swathes through the ways that we write and think and live now and leaves us far better for it: the book is unsettling, life-affirming and essential.'

* Jean Hannah Edelstein, author of This Really Isn't About You *

'Once I started reading Blueberries, I found it almost impossible to put down. It's fascinating to watch Ellena Savage's mind at work in this book - her essays unfurl, expand and dance in unexpected and satisfying ways. This is a masterful, fearless book in which strength and vulnerability collide.'

-- Chelsea Hodson, author of Tonight I'm Someone Else

'Blueberries feels like laying down on the train tracks and looking up at the sky - a reverie, shot through by a feeling of acceleration, of something vast coming at you. Ellena's essays are heartstopping epics of self-inquiry and world-inquiry.'

-- Maria Tumarkin, author of Axiomatic

'Quite simply one of the best essay collections of the last twenty years.'

-- Chloe Walker * CultureFly *

'A breathtaking interrogation of the self in the world; the self within structures of power and oppression ... Blueberries is exciting and distinctive.' STARRED REVIEW * Books+Publishing *

'Reading Ellena Savage's Blueberries engaged me completely. Savage's sparkling writing is bold, witty, insightful, fearless, and funny. It emerges from an astute mind at odds with itself, with culture and society. Savage wrestles and plays with received ideas of all kinds, and with what has and hasn't shaped her. Savage's fierce essays and stories are true to a lived life, and fascinating and irresistible.'

-- Lynne Tillman, author of Men and Apparitions: A Novel

'Ellena Savage, in Blueberries, confronts the past convulsively, compulsively. In dialogic language and form, the author, facing memory's traumas and perplexities, and also its delights, is constantly aware that it's all about the translation of experience from the private to the public realm. In extremis, which is where Savage shines especially, it's as if she saying to the "repressed": go ahead and return; make my day.'

-- David Lazar, Professor of Creative Writing, Columbia College Chicago

'Savage navigates delicate and difficult terrain with wit, ruthless scrutiny and painfully sharp analysis ... If Yellow City is any indication, Blueberries will be one of the most exciting debuts of the new year.'

* Overland *

'The 15 essays contained here wear various guises, from experimental prose to poetry, memoir to polemic to cultural critique. ... Savage's idealism and eloquence are a much-needed counterbalance to our by-now-threadbare belief that all the hard questions of how to order our world have been answered, that everything unsettling such certainty is a glitch, to be soldered onto the technocratic motherboard and run through the circuits of the polity. Blueberries is an adamant and unruly book. It is also the most exciting work of creative nonfiction to be published in this country since Maria Tumarkin took up the pen.'

-- Geordie Williamson * The Australian *

'In fifteen works, Savage blends memoir, personal essay, stream of consciousness, journalism, and prose poetry to interrogate the messy and fragmented life of a writer, a woman, and a body ... A masterclass in experimental nonfiction...Savage is fiercely intelligent and manages to inject dry humour into even the most serious topics, creating a delicate balance between dire existentialism and life-affirming joy. By questioning the very nature of memoir itself, Savage breathes new life into the non-fiction form and considers what it means to be alive in today's uncertain world.'

-- Chloe Cooper * Kill Your Darlings *

'Savage plays with form like a poet, and excavates the roots of her experience with an impressive generosity and fierce intelligence that mirror her mentor, Maria Tumarkin ... Fans of Tumarkin and Jia Tolentino should hunt this down ... and luxuriate in a recent past where whiplash-inducing international travel was an option.'

-- Jo Case * InDaily *

'[F]or fans of the understated yet insightful prose of Rachel Cusk and Sally Rooney ... Wrestling with the intricacies of memory, identity, class and trauma, [Blueberries] sees Savage contemplate her past with unflinching clarity ... Take it to your next book club.'

* Elle Australia 'Book of the Month' *

'Ellena Savage has produced a collection that defies categorisation but is fervently experiential, candid, and original.'

* Readings Monthly *

'For fans of Maria Tumarkin, Kathy Acker, and Maggie Nelson, Blueberries marks Savage as an experimental writer and essayist to watch.'

* Adelaide Review *

'Blueberries asks piercing questions about power, desire, and violence. The essays explore what it means to be an artist, a body, a woman, a friend, a lover, a daughter - and how these roles intersect with systems of oppression. Each essay has its own form and process, but in each one Savage focuses her sharply analytic eye on the world she moves through - as well as on herself.'

-- Caitlin McGregor * Australian Book Review *

'A collection of finely judged personal essays ... The writing is great, but Ellena Savage's adeptness with form is what really makes this worth reading.'

-- John McGregor * The Week *

'The essays display a fiercely intelligent mind that blends the personal with polemic ... It is original, forthright, and will have you challenging your own views and assumptions.' 4.5 STARS

-- Melinda Woledge * Good Reading *

Praise for Yellow City:

'In Yellow City, Ellena Savage's mind translates the memory of violence into astonishingly brilliant language. She perfectly articulates the creeping feeling that one's life is irreversible in a way that, prior to reading, I felt language may be incapable of capturing. This made me sure that she was either a genius, or a witch, or my dream coupling of the two.'

-- Rita Bullwinkel, author of Belly Up
Praise for Yellow City:

'Delving into troubling territory, Savage brings a fierce intellect, sharp wit, and a handful of uncomfortable truths. To read her is to be simultaneously thrilled and uneasy. Savage is a writer not to miss.'

-- Jessie Cole, author of Staying
Praise for Yellow City:

'And it's so funny! So snide and clever and irreverent.'

-- Eloise Grills, author of Big Beautiful Female Theory

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