And, here is a glamorous summary of some of the amazing press the book has been getting…
“One of the most important memoirs of the decade.”
—Ariel Gore, Psychology Today
“[A] frantic kaleidoscope of mourning and survival… recklessly transfigured through language and imagination.”
—Michael Bronski, San Francisco Chronicle
“Delivered in a free-form, associative writing style, Sycamore’s effort to exorcise the demons from her past is blunt, dynamic and original.”
“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore… is the posterchild for all that was culturally alternative in San Francisco in that pierced-lip poser decade [the '90s], while at the same time possessing one of the loudest voices cutting through the bullshit clamor back then and questioning it all. She's also a brilliant writer… Her new memoir… is written in such a hypnotically elliptical style (summoning City Lights' Beat poet legacy) and contains so many spot-on observations and era-damning epigrams that anyone who lived through the period described will cling to its pages while wishing to hurl the book at a wall in embarrassed self-recognition. Searing, funny, maudlin, elegiac, infuriating, and confessional, The End of San Francisco is a deliberately disordered collection of vignettes dealing mostly with Sycamore's span living in the city… Along the way we get drug overdoses, AIDS, lesbian potlucks, heroin chic, crystal meth, ACT UP, the birth of the Internet, the dot-com boom, the dot-com bust, mental breakdowns, outdoor cruising, phony spirituality, Craigslist hookups, hipster gentrification, Polk Street hustling, fag-bashing, shoplifting, house music, the Matrix Program, crappy SoMa live/work lofts, "Care Not Cash," gallons of bleach and hair dye, and processing, processing, and more processing… As we weather another dot-com boom of homogenizing gentrification, The End of San Francisco is a timely reminder of the community that can spring from resistance.”
—Marke B., San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Leave it to Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore to have us all excited about the end of San Francisco… Her writing is furious and unlike anything you’ve ever read… Drunk on language that ought to be incomprehensible but is somehow piercingly lucid, [Sycamore] wails elegiac for the dream of a transcendent queer culture once glimpsed with such promise here."
—Evan Karp, SF Weekly
“Can memoir be honest, emotionally or otherwise? Is counterculture actually possible as a way to live? What happens to those who dream of a radical queer community when the dream fails? Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s latest book, The End of San Francisco, is a despairing memoir of loss—the loss of the dream of radical queer San Francisco, the loss of formative friendships, the loss of personal and political innocence. Written in a free-associative style and merging personal and social history, it is—like all of Sycamore’s work— innovative both formally and politically… The End of San Francisco is the opposite of nostalgia. Nostalgia is fundamentally conservative, and its conservatism is often embedded in the form in which stories are told. The End of San Francisco seems to me radical, not just in content, but formally, in insisting on other ways of remembering and documenting.”
—Jessica Hoffmann, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s long awaited memoir… will rip you open; crack your rib-cage and pour glitter into your heart… Brutal and brilliant, the memoir weaves in and out of time, bringing readers into the intimate details of Sycamore’s adolescence and early activist days. Never defaulting to tidy recounts, cleaned with the passage of time, Sycamore invites readers to share in the complexities of growing up and finding yourself… There is no rose-colored revisionist memory here. Expertly, Sycamore tells not only the story of her past, but also gives a glimpse into the world of anyone who was ever young, idealistic, and too queer.”
—Sassafras Lowrey, Lambda Literary
“The End of San Francisco begins and ends with intense wants for recognition and connectivity. Throughout, there isn’t one part where [Sycamore] is disengaged from this intensity. But that want for more, for something deeper, for integrative relationships and structural change, which is so often mistaken for cynicism, is fueled by love and aspirations.”
—Peter Cochrane, BOMB
"This autobiography is a story of the way people fail each other, whether out of malice or exhaustion or just not knowing how to be there. It’s a chronicle of the ways that we need each other, and the way that need can be turned around, inside-out, torn in all the wrong places but still the only blanket that you have. It’s about critiquing out of love and loving despite critique, despite failure, until you can't do it anymore, until you genuinely feel as though an entire city has come to an end."
—Ocean Capewell, Maximum Rocknroll
"A trenchant observer, [Sycamore’s] denunciation of racism, classism and homophobia is fierce and she does not spare queer communities for their refusal to reject hetero-normativity—marriage and children—or capitalist consumption."
—Eleanor Bader, TruthOut
"Sycamore identifies the complicated messiness of identities wrestling with belonging, activism and being instruments of gentrification. . . Her style—emotional and conversational—creates a rich, satisfying, evocative and deeply relatable world."
—Sarah Mangle, Broken Pencil
The End of San Francisco is as much social critique about the impossibility of collective dreams as it is a memoir looking back at queer and feminist community building in the ‘90s. And it feels life changing reading this book in the midst of the marriage debates… As a reader I felt like I was inside my own memories while I was given access to the formative moments of someone else’s life. I kept wanting Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore to be sitting next to me so I could say, “Right, me too”... The End of San Francisco is a reminder of the ways hopefulness runs alongside longing. It is a model for turning internalized pain into unabashedly anti-assimilationist liberatory politics.
—Jessica Lawless, HTMLGiant
"The End of San Francisco could be the most insightful break-up memoir the city has ever received."
—Ingrid Rojas Contreras, KQED Arts
“Shirking the idea that time unfolds linearly and our lives are both affectively lived and narrated chronologically, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's The End of San Francisco gives us memoir as "an active process of remembering" to be experienced simultaneously by author and reader. At its core, The End of San Francisco is a narrative of emotions loosely tied together in constellations of events. It's a trippy read—in multiple senses of the word—but at the same time profoundly honest and raw.”
—Marcie Bianco, Velvet Park
“A fin-de-siècle late '90s narrative that captures the city's underground demimondaine of artists, punks, activists, anarchists and addicts whose ranks will soon be, if not completely swept away by the tech boom's false promises, then severely thinned by gentrification.”
—Tomas Mournian, Huffington Post
“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's whip-raw memoir… feels like emerging from a chrysalis...”
—Paul Constant, The Stranger