The Tricking Hour
Essays by Irene Silt
What is a world in which work disappears?
“Time has never made any sense to me. Or rather, I am told the way I describe my experience of time does not add up. I am so disconnected from any common meter that I remain in disbelief of that sort of containment. I think this is what makes me a good whore”: so begins Irene Silt’s The Tricking Hour.
Part anti-work polemic, part sex worker’s confession, the luminous essays in The Tricking Hour envision a world organized around collective autonomy, survival, and care, instead of the compulsory exploitation of the body. Silt’s dispatches—largely composed between June 2018 and October 2019 and first published as a monthly column in New Orleans’ ANTIGRAVITY magazine—are already a cult classic in the movement for sex workers against work. Now collected in book form for the first time, with an additional essay written in 2022, The Tricking Hour is a vital account of sex, labor, and criminality in the twenty-first century.
“More than a polemic against work (though it is a very good one) The Tricking Hour is a meditation on what it means to process the world through your body; to feel life—love, loss, pain, ecstasy—to the fullest extent possible, all while knowing that your body is not (only) yours to control, that people with immense power get to dictate how you use your body, and thus how you experience the world. Silt writes compellingly about the issues facing sex workers, but their lessons about autonomy and pleasure under capitalism apply to all of us.” P.E. Moskowitz
“These essays constitute a carefully and beautifully formed nebula of revolutionary thought and praxis. Silt’s gorgeous synthesis is led by both righteous anger and gestures of deep care, born and fostered in spaces, booths, and backrooms both inconspicuous and flatly public. To encounter this missive is to encounter one of the truest manifestations of learning and living life past capital, past work’s totaling reach, and into a life centered around love.” Ryan Skrabalak
“Irene Silt’s rare and piercing voice illuminates the path towards a world without obligatory work and exploitation, a world made richer by the collective knowledge and expertise of sex workers, a world of more pleasure and care for all. We are so fortunate their work lights the way.” Tourmaline
"Meditating on topics as varied as the relationship between sex work and emotional labor, the self-annihilating power of desire, surveillance, the cooptation of abolition, death, and ju-jitsu’s philosophy of embodiment, Irene Silt’s The Tricking Hour is a compendium of the whore’s clandestine body of knowledge: a destituent call from the shadows that beckons us all to go to the place where we are undone. (By fucking. By unruly emotions.) Analytically sharp and exhilarating to read, Silt deftly theorizes capitalism, work, and the body from the lived experience of tricking." Jackie Wang
Irene Silt writes about power, anti-work feeling, joy, and deviance. Their essays and poems have been published in Mask Magazine, ANTIGRAVITY, Spoil, LESTE, Trou Noir, Poiesis Journal and in the Tripwire pamphlet series. They live in New York.
Publication Date: October 2, 2022