“Hagedorn’s fiery latest introduces Mimi Smith, whose notorious first film, Blood Wedding, an art-house gore-fest, garnered critical acclaim. But that was a few years ago, and thoroughly modern Mimi is “suffering from a twenty-first century affliction”: she spends her days boozing and blowing through the money that’s supposed to be funding her next film; her 14-year-old daughter, Violet, has decided to live with her father; and Mimi’s distant cousin Agnes has disappeared after being brought to the U.S. from the Philippines to slave away for a New Jersey family who promised to get her a green card. The story’s ignited by the death of Romeo Byron, a Heath Ledger figure, who overdoses in his East Village apartment. His death rattles Mimi enough to make her turn to her crotchety old neighbor, Eleanor Delacroix, the famous queen of “avant-garde lesbian feminist erotic literature,” now a heavy drinker and a functioning cokehead, but nevertheless vibrant, megalomaniacal, hateful, and hilarious. As Mimi spirals downward, Eleanor tries to get it together to give a reading, only she can’t actually write anything. Hagedorn (Dogeaters) offers a razor-sharp, refreshingly unsentimental portrayal of New York artists–selfish, irresponsible, and brilliant–and the evolution of feminism.”
–Publisher’s Weekly, Nov 22, 2010

“Hagedorn’s brilliant writerly eye sees far beneath surfaces; her voice transmutes what she sees into language so clear and frank and unafraid, it shocks the reader awake. The novel’s protagonists are a pair of fascinating, glamorous, formidable women, and their intertwining lives, addictions, and passions make for hypnotic reading. Toxicology is a book for grownups and a thing of beauty.”
–Kate Christensen

“In Toxicology, Jessica Hagedorn has assembled a lyrical and haunting chorus of voices crooning from a corner of New York City that most people don’t know exists anymore. Real artists, whose work consumes, even as it enlivens them. A welcome respite from the overpaid/under-talented purveyors of what passes for art in contemporary pop culture, Hagedorn’s fully-realized, lush characters might be self-destructing in pursuit of their art and loves (and their love of art), but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going anywhere–and once you open this book, neither will you.”
–T Cooper

A movie star’s overdose provokes three generations of creative women to formally explode. Hagedorn lets the emotional consequences of loss and waste freely expand the parameters of her novel in order to accurately express the wounded heart at play with love, loyalty and making art. When hope is located in the past, and the future not imaginable, her story’s telling relies on freedom, risk and innovation. Funny, sad and without phony resolution, Toxicology just tells like it is.”
–Sarah Schulman

“As the brilliant chronicler of the Filipino-American experience, Jessica Hagedorn has tackled in the past large themes such as the tragic consequences of colonialism, and the destructive structures of corruption it legates to the colonized. With Toxicology, her best, and most daring, novel so far, she has broken new ground by writing with naked brutality, but also with piercing humor and great wisdom, about what it means to be a New Yorker at the beginning of the 21st century. Toxicology is an indelible portrait of how we live today.”
–Jaime Manrique