I found in Riippi’s writing the clear message that we’re all in this together. We, the people, share the same fears, the same hopeful fantasies, and, most of all, we still draw hope from the very same places. Because became that book that reminded me why literature is one of our most important coping mechanisms.
– Electric Literature
It hurts, a lot, to read something so raw, composed with few tools besides human desire. But once you have finished—once the proverbial nail is in the tree—it is even more difficult to get it back out, to forget a book as open and rending as this.
With Because, Joseph Riippi has given us the sort of book that slaps us in the face, then hugs us, and then does it all over again.
Not only is it written in long poetic lines, but it’s very Whitman-esque in that it is very much a “Song of Myself.” It’s a meditation on life and all of its twists and turns. Here, Riippi sings about his wants and desires, and nested into these urges are the most beautiful and heartbreaking memories.
– Luna Luna
I want to know how great we can be if we let ourselves. I want to know how many cartwheels I could do in sequence. I want to know how much I can love, how much wanting and heart I have in me.
I want to know if that’s why I started writing this book.
I want to know if that’s the sentence I’ve been writing toward.
“In Because, Joseph Riippi says he wants this book to be ‘a love letter, a prayer, a purge’ but it actually becomes even more than that. It’s a bursting-at-the-seams dream that cradles so many wishes and passions into its wide scope that it constantly surprises with unexpected turns and brilliant thoughts. It transcends its simple mantra-like structure and becomes a reverberating world of beauty and wonder.”
—Kevin Sampsell, author of This Is Between Us
“Hypnotic, magical, and experimental: Joseph Riippi’s Because will crack your heart open.”
—Chloe Caldwell, author of Legs Get Led Astray
“I’ve always liked this kind of book—the kind that treats its formal conceit not as parlor game but as quarry—and I love Because in particular. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking cairn built of need and desire, love and nostalgia, caprice and obsession, generosity and ambition and hope.”
—Roy Kesey, author of Any Deadly Thing
“‘I want,’ says Joseph Riippi, and begins at once to disarm and charm the reader with a series of declarative statements. This sounds simple, but it’s anything but – by the time you reach the last page of Because, you’ll realize what an intricate and beautiful building Riippi has made of human life, and how sorry you are to leave it. This inventive, heartbreaking book is a gorgeous, painfully honest examination of what it means to be a person. I want everyone I know to read it.”
—Amber Sparks, author of The Desert Places and May We Shed These Human Bodies
“The anaphoric ebb and flow of Joseph Riippi’s Because is bound to remind one of Joe Brainard’s I Remember. But while Riippi’s book is similarly incantatory and moving, it is also more wistful, more painful. There is a beautiful vulnerability in Riippi’s many wants, an aching sadness that stays with the reader.”
—Gabriel Blackwell, author of The Natural Dissolution of Fleeting-Improvised-Men
“I don’t read too many books wherein the author bares everything of himself, opens his chest and lets his innards spill out. The offal truth of Joseph Riippi’s Because stinks to high heaven with beauty. This book took me inside my own childhood, inside my relationship with my wife and my daughter, and made me want to be a better human. All this in a novel about someone else. Amazing.”
—Jamie Iredell, author of I Was a Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac