Anya Liftig grew up with a foot in two very different worlds: While her mother's upbringing was so rural that the other kids called her "holler rat," her father came from a comfortable, upper-middle-class Jewish family. Anya spent school years in affluent Connecticut and summers in the holler. Shaped by the experience, she would go on to win a scholarship to Yale and become an acclaimed artist, using provocative performances to explore the contradictions and unanswered questions of her life. But when the world Anya was building for herself shattered, she was forced to reconcile where she'd come from with who she was and who she wanted to be.
In Holler Rat, Liftig masterfully interweaves family lore from her Appalachian childhood with her performance art pieces and scenes of the yearlong period in which her life fell apart, and plumbs the cathartic self-reckoning that followed. She takes us from her Mamaw's porch to Yale; from the site of a violent family land feud to a pre-gentrified Bushwick loft; and from a devastating childhood leg injury to having 243 raw eggs pelted at her in the name of art. In visceral, beautiful prose that ranges from raunchy and outrageous to sobering and tragic, Holler Rat is the origin story of an unconventional artistic life and a captivating account of the stumbling blocks, sacrifices, and discoveries along the way. (Abrams Press)