Losing Beck is the story of Jennie Silver, who is trying to get over a man who was greatly influenced by the renowned Hungarian emigré novelist Avigdor Element. Spanning a hundred years of history from when Nijinsky danced ‘The Afternoon of the Faun’ in Paris in 1912, through World Wars I and II, to very close to the present, Jennie keeps a diary, writes a play and a novella in her attempt to control her desperate, high-pitched emotions focused on a man she is uncontrollably drawn to and at the same time finds repugnant. A man who is one of the keepers and part of the legacy of Element’s bad behavior.
PRAISE FOR LOSING BECK
“A diary of amour fou; a two-act play featuring Nijinsky as an apparition of art and madness; a novella largely about the sexual politics of poetry publication. This triptych of narratives contains a plenitude of characters driven by overpowering emotions and dark motives. Each section is energized by a story-line of repetition compulsion arising from the desire to enjoy bodily pleasure, to have and hold the power to make others lustful about the physical beauty of oneself and one’s mastery as an artist. It isn’t always pretty to watch page by page, but the frottage of scene after scene of shame and desire, rage and submission, forms Susan Hahn’s testament, her ‘repertoire of horrors.’ I was especially fascinated by the meticulous scrutiny of family relations, especially mother-daughter attachments, often dramatized against a backdrop of twentieth-century Jewish history. Admirers of Susan Hahn’s poetry will recognize some of the motifs, and some of the gorgeous language, woven throughout these Strindbergian plots. This work is the poet’s urgent gift to her devoted readers, who will be thankful, once again, that an author of such x-ray vision lives among us?”—Laurence Goldstein, author of Clear and Queer Thinking: Wittgenstein’s Development and His Relevance to Modern Thought