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The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity

Mendelsohn, Daniel

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ISBN 10: 0375400958 / ISBN 13: 9780375400957
Verlag: Knopf
Gebraucht Zustand: Fine Hardcover
Verkäufer Robinson Street Books, IOBA (Binghamton, NY, USA)

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0375400958 Fine in Fine dust jacket. First edition.* Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers NT920SD9097

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle ...

Verlag: Knopf

Einband: Hardcover


Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition

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A provocative, profoundly moving literary debut--part personal history, part cultural commentary--that announces a writer of dazzling originality.

In an emotionally charged narrative that weaves together past and present, the personal and the scholarly, a young critic and classicist takes us on a search for the meaning of identity--while showing, through remarkably fresh and accessible readings of such classical Greek and Roman writers as Catullus and Sappho, Ovid and Sophocles, how ancient stories  continue to hold truths for us today.

The landscapes through which Daniel Mendelsohn takes us: the deceptively quiet streets of the suburb where he grew up, torn between his mathematician father, who sought after scientific truth, and his Orthodox Jewish grandfather, who told "beautiful lies"; the Southern university, steeped in history and secret traditions, where he first experienced seductions both sexual and intellectual; Internet chat rooms and the streets of Chelsea, Manhattan's newest gay ghetto, where "desire for love" competes with "love of desire"; the quiet, moonlit house where a close friend's small son teaches him the meaning of fatherhood.

And, in a narrative tour de force that marks the book's conclusion, Mendelsohn's themes--desire and sexuality, the hidden meanings of classical and Hebrew writings, the restless search for cultural and personal identity--come together in a final revelation. In a neglected Jewish cemetery, the author uncovers a family secret that demonstrates the universal need for storytelling, for inventing myths of the self.


When Daniel Mendelsohn was growing up, he "secretly imagined a place where all the people were other boys, and where all the stores and books and songs and movies and restaurants were by boys, about other boys. It would be a place where somehow the outside reality of the world that met your eyes and ears could finally be made to match the inner, hidden reality of what you knew yourself to be." And while he's found that place in Manhattan's Chelsea district, Mendelsohn has only one foot there--his other foot is in suburban New Jersey, where he acts as a masculine role model ("not exactly a father but a man who would be present") to the young son of a close friend. The Elusive Embrace is an elegantly written memoir that shifts effortlessly between these locales, and between the events in Mendelsohn's life and the Greek and Roman classics that are his academic specialty. Whether he's elaborating upon his earliest explorations of his sexuality or teasing out the secrets that redefine his family history, he writes with admirable grace and delicacy. --Ron Hogan

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