An enigmatic woman wanders from a pleasure mansion to a backyard wedding, upending the lives of everyone present
No one knows the woman at the wedding. Not the caterer, an easy target, succumbing to her advances. Not the pregnant bride or her tangled family, trying to spin a fairytale wedding under a melting hot summer sun. Not even the bride’s stepsister, Charlotte, who, in the middle of the night and despite her better judgment, allows this wandering wedding crasher into her car.
Crusted in dried blood and other bodily fluids, the woman exists in layers of sense and story, a nesting doll of pornographic tales in which fantasy and banality collide and blur. In this novel that is at once visceral, vivid, and spare, the uninvited guest gives each of those she meets what they want, whether they like it or not.
Here writhe distinct bodies in distinct ecstasies, echoing and defying inherited American narratives about gender, shame, and pleasure. With an edge of humor and horror, Woods explores if —and how—we consent to our own desires.
Kathleen J. Woods earned an M.F.A in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she served as Managing Editor for the journal Timber. In 2018, she was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. Her stories and essays have appeared in Bitch, Western Humanities Review, Bartleby Snopes, Apeiron Review, Prick of the Spindle, and others. This is her first novel.
“White Wedding is an erotic landscape of one woman's own diligent making; blessedly, blissfully turned from the drudgery of moral comment, laying a bold claim on female sexual power. Straightforward and unblinking, with an ambition suiting its style. Fans of Kathy Acker and Jan Wolkers take note.” —Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot
“White Wedding is the sort of thing Takashi Miike might write if he wrote books instead of movies, lived in America, and was female. It's like High Plains Drifter if it was set at a contemporary wedding with BDSM in the place of gunfights. Transgressive and challenging, this is a book about secrets and disappointments and betrayals, and about one woman who knows just where to wander and what threads to pull to make everyone start to unravel.” —Brian Evenson, author of Song for the Unraveling of the World
“Woods displays her talent by writing sweaty, tangible descriptions of intense, escalating erotic scenes. She has a knack for pacing. Emulating the varying chain of events that lead to intercourse, she will sometimes surprise the reader with how quickly they are thrust into passion.” —Devin Baron, reviewer for Call Me [Brackets]
“Like the nameless woman who wanders through White Wedding, teasing attendees out to the threadbare ends of perversion and desire, Woods’ prose walks the razor’s edge between fantasy and horror. Not a word is wasted. Slick, precise, and moving with practiced skill, the writing will dare you to look away—only to discover your eyes held cunningly in the writer’s hand, in an instant to be popped into her mouth. This is a dark, twisted, and delicious book.” —Meng Jin, author of Little Gods
“White Wedding is a gilded plum of a book—taut, firm, and enticing on the outside, filled with succulent mess which leaks out after the first bite. Woods has created a world in which the predictable geegaws of American middle-class life (with its equally predictable gender roles) become as highly charged as the most intensely erotic of pleasure palace exoticisms. An unpredictable, uncontainable book that oozes the promise of all your secret fantasies fulfilled, whether you’re ready or not.” —Sarah Blackman, author of Hex
“[A] best new read of California and the West.” —Alta Journal