“Suicide notes and love letters are almost exactly the same.”: Reading Daphne Gottleib’s “Saint 1001”

Saint 1001

Daphne Gottleib’s latest, Saint 1001, is a damning, weird, sexy, tremendously literary, and extremely Gen X novel, told in a thread of letters and later emails through story, allegory, poetry, and Craigslist personal ads. 

Remember Craigslist? I didn’t use it in its heyday, which I guess was the ’90s, but I was around in the early 2000s and have quite a few fond memories using and perusing the site. Some of the best apartments and roommates I’ve ever had were found on Craigslist. There was a period of time when I was working at Whole Foods as a cashier when I got my name mentioned on the Missed Connections section what seemed like every other week (I was probably too friendly back then, always asking customers about what they were going to do with the ingredients they were purchasing, making conversation with everyone as we were prompted to do by management). I met some interesting people on the Strictly Platonic section, once a paralegal who was in town for a lawsuit and wanted a dining companion, and I as a super broke 21-year-old was down for pretty much anything and happy to meet up with the stranger who happened to be staying at the Four Seasons Hotel. He didn’t come on to me but we did smoke weed on the patio outside the hotel and on his last night in town I convinced him to have a party in his hotel room where I invited all of my rag tag friends and some guests down the hall complained to security of a funny smell coming from the room. Those were the good old days, I guess. Today I’m not sure if I would use Craigslist in the same way that I did in the early 2000s, but I like to browse the real estate section for San Francisco apartments I can’t afford. The idea of Craigslist and the way this liminal space is employed in Saint 1001 still holds this kind of mystique that reminds me of a more rose colored time, prior to the Craigslist killer being a news item.

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