Empire of the Senseless

ebook A Novel

By Kathy Acker

cover image of Empire of the Senseless

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A cyborg and her pirate lover travel through a violent Paris in this "apocalyptic tale that makes A Clockwork Orange look tame" (Publishers Weekly).
Originally published in 1988, Empire of the Senseless marked a turning point in Acker's wild, inimitable style. Considered one of her more accessible works, here Acker candidly addresses her lifelong obsessions: childhood and trauma, language and sexuality, criminality and corruption, oppression and rebellion.
Abhor (part human, part robot) and her lover Thivai (a pirate) traverse Paris in a dystopian future, in search of a mysterious drug that Thivai needs in order to maintain his ability to love. Navigating the chaotic city, they encounter mad doctors, prisoners, bikers, sailors, tattooists, terrorists, and prostitutes, while a band of Algerian revolutionaries take over, and the CIA plots to thwart them all.
Sexually explicit, graphically violent, Empire of the Senseless resists the desensitizing of cultural consciousness and the disintegration of interpersonal communication. A timeless, prescient parable, it speaks profoundly to our social and political history as well as our present reality.
Praise for Empire of the Senseless
"[A] complex, high-speed, intensely intellectual, intensely offensive, post-modernist, pained and painful, punk, fantastic, fictional construct and elaborate tattoo of a novel." —New York Times
"Empire of the Senseless is a family romance turned inside out, a twisted re-creation of quest sagas and Bildungsroman and TV sitcoms." —Philadelphia Enquirer
"A world of ugly truths, beautifully expressed. If you care to learn why Kathy Acker is such an important writer, I suggest you put aside your preconceptions, stop making sense, and read this book immediately." —Alan Moore
Empire of the Senseless