Mycelium (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) (Paperback)
Semiotext(e), 9781635901009, 144pp.
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
In a novel set against a transforming Berlin, an artist confronts a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Going to openings and parties, setting up a studio and breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Noora is living the post-art school life in Berlin when, in 2005, she's diagnosed with breast cancer. Vaguely restless, until now she's been neither happy nor unhappy, but her entry into what she calls "Cancerland" forces her to question the assumptions by which she lived her life so far. Uneasily, she realizes that the "relationships of the soul" she and her friends value over everything else might not be as indelible as family, after all.
In this sharp and picaresque first novel, conceptual artist Annette Weisser depicts the transformation of Berlin from the frontier city of the cold war to an international art hub as an analog and backdrop to the chaotic, corporeal transformation Noora undergoes through cancer and its treatments. Written in the casual, associative style of a female coming-of-age novel, Mycelium examines German trauma, art school dramas, and the inevitable parsing into winners and losers that her generation undergoes as they enter their mid-thirties.