Sleeveless

Sleeveless: Fashion, Image, Media, New York 2011–2019 (Semiotext(e), October 2019)

“When I think about the paradox she’s outlining—the incentive for women to be both visible and alone—I conjure a mental image of trapdoors all the way down.” —Kaitlyn Tiffany for The Atlantic

“Natasha Stagg pays detailed attention to statistical selves that are at once vital and precarious and leaves us a boatload of truths. Sleeveless is a vibrant record of the cost to life of her specific cosmopolitan scene.” —Lauren Berlant, author of Cruel Optimism

“Stagg writes from inside an insular microcosm, but it’s one that is increasingly representative of society at large. We’re so enmeshed in these processes that we feel we have no alternative but to accept them. Stagg’s dissection of these phenomena, however, reveals our complicity in a way that implies we might have more of a choice than we think. Neuromancer served, in some ways, as a cautionary tale; Sleeveless has the same capacity for revelation.” —Eugenie Dalland for BOMB

“Natasha Stagg…is an observant body carried along by the slipstream, noticing the textures and debris and connective tissue along the way. She is ambivalent about metropolitan living but also invested enough to notice and point out its incongruities, like a world-weary docent in need of a cigarette break.” —Rachel Syme for Bookforum

“Stagg, a copywriter in the fashion world as well as an essayist and novelist, captures the ambivalence so many of us millennials in the business of culture writing feel about our work and its reliance upon our own self-branding.” —Shannon Keating for Buzzfeed

“A lot of Stagg’s readers will come from her world, but I really hope not all because her treatment of herself as narrator, and the flat (as in non-hierarchical) attention given to her subjects mean that Sleeveless is a document of its time, rather than of trends (even when she is writing about trends).” —Zsófia Paulikovics for Dazed

“The masochism that Stagg describes underpins Cory Arcangel’s Working On My Novel, like a hunger that cannot be sated.” —Louise Benson for Elephant

“Millennial women who understand social media—and thus the cynicism and thrill of myth-building, the big business of serotonin addiction, the cringeworthy transparency of crowdsourcing vanity needs—are the most important writers of our generation. Among this esteemed group of writers, Natasha Stagg, a novelist, essayist, and Internet scholar par excellence, stands out.”  —Kaitlin Phillips for Interview

“Stagg is a canary in the cultural coal mine of a city whose intellectual and bohemian postures have begun to feel as false as they are drained of any real agency. What are these fumes? As New York melts into iPhone screens, it seems that literature can still get high on the poison of its own smoking remains.” —John Kelsey, author of Rich Texts: Selected Writing for Art

“Natasha Stagg writes in a direct, clean, unapologetic style that is cynical in all the right ways, and sentimental in all the right ways, too. She’s a trustworthy and perhaps indispensable reporter on this mediated condition we’re living through. Stagg treads the line between truth and fiction (mostly hanging out on the “truth” side of the fence) with a pissed-off sang-froid that may be a great model for other writers of her generation. Her essays about sex are major necessary news. She knows how decadent—and not in a happy way—our “moment” is. And how it is time for voices like Natasha’s.” —Wayne Kostenbaum, author of Camp Marmalade

“Stagg’s path has resolutely been her own, and it’s only possible to think of her as ever having been starry-eyed in the sense that her authorial gaze is searingly hot, always lucid even when tackling the murkiest of subjects.” —Kristin Iversen for Nylon

“Few people could elevate the thong to an object of poetry and academia, but Natasha Stagg is one of them. A wry and cutting narrator, Stagg guides us through some of the industry’s most salacious and intriguing secrets. Reading Sleeveless is a bit like stealthily eavesdropping on a dinner party, only the guests are New York’s fashion elite.” —Madeleine Fletcher for Sleek