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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: darin strauss, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 7 of 7
1. Book-giving serendipity

Last month I sent Darin Strauss a copy of Muriel Spark’s Memento Mori after he vastly overpaid for his part of a cab ride home from a party. In return, he introduced me to the Essential Stories of V.S. Pritchett. And then he discovered an edition of Memento Mori with an introduction written by Pritchett (pictured), and we were as excited as any two book nerds could be.

So far I’ve only found a few tiny excerpts. “Only one other novelist and playwright of consequence — Samuel Beckett — had looked at Mrs. Spark’s subject: the corruption of the flesh, the tedium of waiting to die,” Pritchett said, praising her for taking on “the great suppressed and censored subject of contemporary society, the one we do not care to face, which we regard as indecent: old age.” I hope someone will get permission to republish the full text online.

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2. Half a Life

Darin Strauss dissects the one event that forever demarcates his life: as a teenager, he kills a schoolmate after hitting her with his car.  To his credit, Strauss never once plays the pity card; instead he seems to question his every emotion and thought for signs of weakness.  As he grows into adulthood, he shares [...]

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3. Join the Love & Heartbreak Story Slam

On February 14th, Smith Magazine will sponsor a Six-Word Memoir Story Love & Heartbreak Slam. So far, readers include: Deb KoganRachel Sklar, Darin Strauss, Michele Carlo, Sara Barron, and Elizabeth Wurtzel.

You can buy tickets to the reading here. Here’s more about the interactive event: “Everyone will have the chance to share a Six-Word Memoir during the audience participation Six-World Slam. Then we invite you to hang out by the 92YTribeca’s beautiful bar and share more stories and drinks.”

In addition, we are hosting a six-word memoir contest, giving one GalleyCat reader a chance tell the backstory behind their six-word memoir onstage at the New York City reading. Submit your six-word memoir on the GalleyCat Facebook page for a chance to win. Follow this link to read the complete rules and details.

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4. Jodi Picoult, Darin Strauss & Ron Rosenbaum Among First Kindle Singles Authors

Jodi Picoult, Darin Strauss & Ron Rosenbaum lead the pack of writers producing Kindle Singles–short works priced between 99-cents and $2.99. Will you buy these little books?

In October, Amazon unveiled a new eBook format, calling on “serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers” to contribute “singles” between 10,000 and 30,000-words (about 30-90 pages).

Here’s more about the Kindle Single from Picoult: “Leaving Home brings together three, previously published short pieces, each dealing with a variation on the theme of leaving home. The first, ‘Weights and Measures,’ deals with the tragic loss of a child; the second is a non-fiction letter Picoult wrote to her eldest son as he left for college; and, ‘Ritz’ tells the story of a mother who takes the vacation all mothers need sometime.”

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5. Celebrating the National Book Critics Circle Award Nominees

I never read nearly as much as I'd like to read—my multiple worlds are perpetually colliding, fracturing time. But I was so gratified to learn that, on this year's list of NBCC nominees, many of the books I'd loved best and celebrated here, on my blog, are being equally celebrated by the judges.  In Autobiography, there's Patti Smith's remarkable Just Kids, Darin Strauss's deeply moving Half a Life, and the thoughtful, provocative Hiroshima in the Morning, by my much-loved friend, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto.  In Criticism, there's Elif Batuman's The Possessed and Ander Monson's Vanishing Point.  I'd put all five books on my Penn syllabus months ago, and here they are—proven, lifted, upheld.

A huge congratulations to them all, and, especially, to my dear friend, Reiko.  I've linked to my own reflections about these books here, should you be interested in how they affected me early on.

2 Comments on Celebrating the National Book Critics Circle Award Nominees, last added: 1/25/2011
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6. Half a Life/Darin Strauss: Reflections

Dignity is a word I have long associated with Darin Strauss.  His refined mind and sensibilities were on display in novels like Chang and Eng.  A certain quietude pervaded interviews.  When I learned that Strauss was sending a memoir into the world, a memoir entrusted to McSweeney's (and hence, in some fashion, to the multiply talented and deeply generous Dave Eggers), I knew for certain what I'd be reading next.

I read Half a Life this morning, grateful for every white-steeped page.  It is, as you must have heard by now, the story of an accidental death—the story of what happened one day when Strauss set out to play some "putt putt" with his high school friends.  He was 18, behind the wheel of his father's Oldsmobile.  On the margin of the road, two cyclists pedaled forward.  Of a sudden, there was a zag, a knock, an "hysterical windshield." A cyclist, a girl from Strauss's school, lay dying on the road. She'd crossed two lanes of highway to reach Strauss's car.  He braked, incapable of forestalling consequences.

It was forever.  It was always.  A girl had died.  A boy had lived.  Strauss spent his college years, his twenties, his early thirties incapable of reconciling himself to the facts, of entrusting them to friends.  There's much he can't remember perfectly.  There are gaps, white space, breakage—all of which, in this McSweeney's production, is rendered with utmost decency—the thoughts broken into small segments, big breaths (blank pages) taken in between.  There is knowing here, not shouting.  There is an exploration of guilt, and no bravado. 

Half a Life sits now, on my shelf, beside Gail Caldwell's Let's Take the Long Way Home—two memoirs that transcend precisely because they are so quiet, so well considered, so honorable. These books, along with Rahna Reiko Rizzuto's Hiroshima in the Morning, give me hope that memoir, the form, is finding its center again.  There may not be any sure-fired truths, but there are consequences.  There may be stories, but they are always tangled.  There may be ache, but there is solace, too.  There may be drama, but in drama's wake, we stand.  In need of understanding.  In need of one another.

2 Comments on Half a Life/Darin Strauss: Reflections, last added: 9/20/2010
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7. Darin Strauss Sells New Untitled Novel

Darin Strauss, the author of Chang and Eng and The Real McCoy, has sold a new and currently untitled novel to Random House.

Susan Kamil acquired the book, and the deal was negotiated by Scott Moyers at the Wylie Agency. Strauss’ debut novel told the story of the conjoined brothers, Chang and Eng Bunker–earning strong reviews and a New York Times Notable stamp for his first book.

Here’s more about the author (pictured, via): “Also a screenwriter, he is adapting Chang and Eng with Gary Oldman, for Disney. The recipient of a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction writing, he is a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU’s creative writing program.”

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