Eileen Myles is best known for her semi-autobiographical novel Cool for You: It's a fantastic book, at once a raw memoir and a weird experiment in conversational language. Myles is a brilliant stylist; she writes in a way that we wish we could talk. And in The Importance of Being Iceland, she writes about anything that appeals to her at the moment, and she's bold in her truth telling. In a piece about Allen Ginsberg, Myles makes no apologies for his tendencies to eroticize very young men:
"Our whole culture is pedophilic in the way it celebrates youth, we can barely look at youth without eroticizing it, and then NAMBLA takes one step forward and says I want to eat you, and for this even gay culture wants to throw them out."
There's something about Myles' delivery that seems straight-faced but has a slightly daffy tone, like this question from an interview with Daniel Day-Lewis:
"I have several myths about actors that I wanted to unload. One thinks of actors as the abstemious or the excessive type. Like, Richard Gere only drinks tea, and Richard Burton has a heart attack and dies. What's your relation to excess?"
There's a comical moment here, somewhere around the Richard Gere part of the sentence, where you have to wonder if Myles is floating around in the atmosphere. These strange moments make reading Myles a distinct pleasure; and in this book, more than any other, she invites us to join her up in the clouds for a day or two.