What We’re Reading in April!


We’re thrilled to share that our April Book Club selection is Lilly Dancyger’s debut memoir Negative Space, forthcoming from Santa Fe Writers Project on May 1, but available to Rumpus Book Club members in just a few weeks!

Despite her parents’ struggles with addiction, Lilly Dancyger always thought of her childhood as a happy one. But what happens when a journalist interrogates her own rosy memories to reveal the instability around the edges?

Dancyger’s father, Joe Schactman, was part of the iconic 1980s East Village art scene. He created provocative sculptures out of found materials, and brought his young daughter into his gritty, iconoclastic world. She idolized him—despite the escalating heroin addiction that sometimes overshadowed his creative passion. When Schactman died suddenly, just as Dancyger was entering adolescence, she went into her own self-destructive spiral, raging against the world that had taken him away. But as an adult, Dancyger began to question the mythology she’d created about her father—the brilliant artist, struck down in his prime—using his paintings, sculptures, and prints as a guide to piece together a truer story.

Featuring Schactman’s artwork throughout, Negative Space explores Dancyger’s grief, anger, and artistic inheritance as she sets out to illuminate the darkness her father hid from her, as well as her own.

“A lovely and heartbreaking book.” – Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House

Negative Space is a beautiful restoration act.” – Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water

“Candid, thrilling, wickedly smart, Negative Space is one of the greatest memoirs of this, or any, time.” – T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Subscribe to the Rumpus Book Club by March 15 to join us in reading Negative Space, culminating in an exclusive online discussion with author Lilly Dancyger about the book!

Learn more about The Rumpus Book Club here. More from this author →