Lynn Crosbie’s new novel is a fantastical love story about a teenage girl who embarks on a relationship with the dead spirit of Kurt Cobain.
Evelyn Gray is a miserable sixteen-year-old girl from Carnation, Washington, who is in love with Kurt Cobain. When Evelyn is taken to the hospital after a drug overdose, Cobain’s spirit reanimates itself in the body of a young man who is convalescing in the bed next to her.
Evelyn and the man–now named Celine Black–escape the hospital and run off together, determined to become famous. They find the musical success they seek, but despite their mutual devotion, they are tormented by their passion and jealousy. As their fame grows, their relationship becomes more excessive and an episode of sexual violence explodes into a shocking murder.
This is a highly original work of haute fan fiction, written in Crosbie’s poetic and emotionally evocative prose.
At first glance, this novel looks like every grunge-lovers dream: Kurt Cobain, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. What Nirvana fan could actually resist this? Even the cover makes me happy. Also, Courtney Love plays the Queen of Heaven in this book, did I forget to mention that? I was basically sold at the get-go, and I embarrassingly pushed aside the rest of my review copies that are in dire need of being read, all so that I could imagine myself as the main character and pretend the reincarnation of Kurt Cobain loved me. If only life was so simple.
Something that struck me as odd prior to starting Where Did You Sleep Last Night? was an interesting quote on the front cover. Rather than writing it down, I think you’ll get the full effect from seeing it yourself.
Evidently, my first thoughts were, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
I spared no time jumping right in after having read articles about this piece everywhere you can imagine online. What I didn’t expect was to start this novel and not have a firm understanding of what exactly was going on.
A lot of Where Did You Sleep Last Night? is lyrical poetry and trippy incidents that eventually add up and only make sense once the reader has almost reached their breaking point. I’m not one to spare honesty, and being no different here, I will tell you all that I am questioning my ability to write this review because I still have no idea of what was happening half the time. While to a certain extent passages were readable, most of the words read like chaos and stars, AKA no sense. I’d read through several pages and wouldn’t understand what was going on until the last sentence before the break–this is basically a rough summary of the entirety of this novel. This brings me back to the quote on the front of the book. Lynn Crosbie certainly invented something.
On the other hand, in the occasional likeliness that one could understand the passage, nothing ever felt like it was building up to anything. A lot of this novel is just a push and pull between the main leads, and overall it mainly felt repetitive more than anything. This didn’t help with the writing feeling so unusual and unkempt, and I think that between these two, one thing or another should have made sense.
In Crosbie’s defense, though, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were madness and heroin, brutal yet kind, and nothing about them ever made sense from the outside looking in, so in some ways, Where Did You Sleep Last Night? reads like a fan fiction that addresses what life with them might have actually been like at one point in time.
Any fan of Kurt Cobain will enjoy this read one way or another, and anyone looking for a clearer understanding of the grunge community will truly appreciate all the artistry that went into this.