Creep: Accusations and Confessions

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A ruthless and razor-sharp essay collection that tackles the pervasive, creeping oppression and toxicity that has wormed its way into society--in our books, schools, and homes, as well as the systems that perpetuate them--from the acclaimed author of Mean, and one of our fiercest, foremost explorers of intersectional Latinx identity.

A creep can be a singular figure, a villain who makes things go bump in the night. Yet creep is also what the fog does--it lurks into place to do its dirty work, muffling screams, obscuring the truth, and providing cover for those prowling within it.

Creep is Myriam Gurba's informal sociology of creeps, a deep dive into the dark recesses of the toxic traditions that plague the United States and create the abusers who haunt our books, schools, and homes. Through cultural criticism disguised as personal essay, Gurba studies the ways in which oppression is collectively enacted, sustaining ecosystems that unfairly distribute suffering and premature death to our most vulnerable. Yet identifying individual creeps, creepy social groups, and creepy cultures is only half of this book's project--the other half is examining how we as individuals, communities, and institutions can challenge creeps and rid ourselves of the fog that seeks to blind us.

With her ruthless mind, wry humor, and adventurous style, Gurba implicates everyone from Joan Didion to her former abuser, everything from Mexican stereotypes to the carceral state. Braiding her own history and identity throughout, she argues for a new way of conceptualizing oppression, and she does it with her signature blend of bravado and humility.

About the Author

Myriam Gurba is a writer and artist. She is the author of the true-crime memoir Mean, a New York Times Editors' Choice. O, the Oprah Magazine, ranked Mean as one of the best LGBTQ books of all time. Publishers Weekly describes Gurba as having a voice like no other. Her essays and criticism have appeared in The Paris Review,, and 4Columns. She has shown art in galleries, museums, and community centers. She lives in Long Beach, California.

"[Myriam Gurba] is the mother of intersectional Latinx identity." --Cosmopolitan

"Absorbing. . . Gurba turns her unblinking gaze to life's cruelties, weaving together disparate threads that somehow hold in the end." --Carolina A. Miranda, Los Angeles Times

"Witty, confident, and effortlessly provocative, Gurba writes about the things that piss her off with poison and precision, sometimes daring readers to look for themselves in the tangled complicity flowchart. . . Creep goes to some dark places, but there's something joyous about Gurba's righteous and ravenous worldview." --The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Sharp, conversational cultural criticism. . . Gurba goes for the jugular." --Bustle's "Best New Books for Fall"

"Powerful. . . Full of lean prose and biting commentary, [Creep] is as emotionally heavy as it is hard to put down." --Publisher's Weekly

"As insightful as it is poetic, [Creep] explores the knife's edge between sanity and madness." --Bay Area Reporter

"[A] ruthless and razor-sharp essay collection." --The Millions

"Truly exceptional. . . Gurba's lyrical prose forces us to face the sexism, racism, homophobia, and other systems of oppression that allow some Americans to get away with murder while the rest of us live in constant fear. Every piece is rife with well-timed humor and surprising conclusions, many of which come from the author's staggering command of history. Profoundly insightful, thoroughly researched, incredibly inventive, and laugh-out-loud funny, this book is a masterpiece of wit and vulnerability." --Kirkus *starred review*

"Brilliant. . . [Gurba] skins the myth of California as a progressive playground. In its place, she offers a blistering portrait of life in the golden state. . . Despite the degradations and horrors Creep chronicles, it's a hopeful book. A hopefulness shot through with anger, awareness, and unrest. A hope rooted in the steadfast belief other worlds are possible." --The New York Observer

"Fierce and engaging cultural criticism." --Library Journal

"Gurba's ability to deftly connect cultural and personal histories with heartbreaking poeticism and laugh-out-loud wit is often dazzling. A profound collection of essays on the ways violence seeps into the lives of the marginalized." --Electric Literature

"[A] wide-ranging collection of memories. . . Gurba [. . .] vividly dissects the insidious toll of sexual violence and racism through firsthand experience [and] unsparingly challenges us to confront the many ways those who prey on others are obscured and even protected by our society." --Booklist

"Brilliant." --The San Francisco Chronicle's "Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2023"

"With personal essays that transform into astute pieces of cultural criticism, Gurba explores the way creeps haunt our books, our schools, and our homes--and how we can work to challenge them." --Lit Hub's "Most Anticipated Books of 2023"

"Gurba's book masquerades as personal but reveals something much more universal and profound." --Alta

"Myriam Gurba is the most fearless writer in America. And is most generous and kind to those who have no champion, while setting fire to the towers of the villainous. Creep is another beautifully daring book. Long may she reign." --Luis Alberto Urrea, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Good Night, Irene

"Gurba is mighty. Brilliant, Mexican, wry; an ethnographer of our inheritances, she trains our eyes on the ugliness of racism, imperialism, and misogyny. A curate of liberation, Gurba pays homage to the survivors and the victims. This book is ceremony: beautiful, difficult and important." --Imani Perry, National Book Award-winning author of South to America

"I loved Creep and already consider it essential reading, a California classic. It is full of verve, hilarity, and excitement. Gurba is tender but tough, and her book gleams with voluptuous horror, historical rigor, and astonishing psychological depth." --Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers

"In Creep, Gurba stitches together a no-holds-barred analysis of violence in and out of national borders, interpersonal relationships, and literature. It is a testament to Gurba's dexterity as a writer but also her courage to embark upon the expedition of her own memories." --Morgan Jerkins, New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing

"Boom! Myriam Gurba's writing is a nuclear explosion." --Silvia Moreno-Garcia, bestselling author of Mexican Gothic

"Myriam Gurba is not someone you want to make mad. Her writing makes me feel like I have a far cooler, smarter big sister standing up to familiar monsters: bad men, our deepest fears, Joan Didion, our stolen girlhoods. Myriam makes me think and feel but, most importantly, Myriam's writing makes me feel like writing because her fire is contagious." --Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, author of The Undocumented Americans

"With its powerful voice and truth-telling, Creep will help cement Myriam Gurba's reputation as a singular and essential voice in American literature. Again and again, the tales in this book reveal the strength of a woman joyfully and relentlessly defending her dignity against those who would demean her." --Héctor Tobar, author of National Book Critics Circle award finalist Deep Down Dark

Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Pub date: September 05, 2023
352 pages
Format: Hardcover