From the publisher:
Most Anticipated Books of 2023: The Millions, The Rumpus
“The poet Amy Key’s first book might be the most hyped memoir of 2023 (or at least a close second to Spare)… This raw, gorgeous, pulsing memoir is…the harbinger of a real talent.” —Laura Hackett, Sunday Times [UK]
Amy Key—a writer “of rare and strange magic” (Guardian)—probes the art of living without romance in this soul-stirring debut.
When British poet Amy Key was growing up, she envisioned a life shaped by love—and Joni Mitchell’s album Blue was her inspiration. “Blue became part of my language of intimacy,” she writes, recalling the dozens of times she played the record as a teen, “an intimacy of disclosure, vulnerability, unadorned feeling that I thought I’d eventually share with a romantic other.” As the years ticked by, she held on to this very specific idea of romance like a bottle of wine saved for a special occasion.
But what happens when the romance we are all told will give life meaning never presents itself??Now single in her forties, Key explores the sweeping scales of romantic feeling as she has encountered them, using the album Blue as an expressive anchor: from the low notes of loss and unfulfilled desire—punctuated by sharp, discordant feelings of jealousy and regret—to the deep harmony of friendship, and the crescendos of sexual attraction and self-realization.
Finding solace in Mitchell’s songs, Key plumbs Blue’s track list for themes that resonate with her heart’s seasons. Listening to the song “California,” she explores the mixed emotions that come with traveling alone in a world built for couples; she juxtaposes the lonely lyrics of “My Old Man” with the pleasurable art of curating a perfect apartment for one; and with the utmost tenderness, she parses out her decision to not have children with the eloquent “Little Green.”
Mapping the evolution of her early conceptions of love through her adulthood, Key offers a tender and nakedly candid celebration of the many forms of intimacy that often go unnoticed. An essential work for both the single and the partnered, Arrangements in Blue is a bold manual for building a life on your own terms.
Amy Key is a poet and essayist based in London. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Luxe and Isn't Forever. Arrangements in Blue was inspired by her viral Granta essay, "A Bleed of Blue."