The Talking Cure: A Memoir of Life on Air

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9781583220412: The Talking Cure: A Memoir of Life on Air

As a kid growing up in Queens, Mike Feder identified with Scheherazade of The Thousand and One Nights: "The idea of someone having to tell a new tale every night to prevent their head getting chopped off seemed sadly familiar to me."
Back then, the author's audience was his mentally ill mother, who used to stay in the house all day with the shades drawn, and then insist that her son tell her stories so that she might vicariously experience the world outside. Eventually she committed suicide, and Feder grew up to be a relentless, comic storyteller on the radio. The Talking Cure tells the story of his ridiculous jobs, first failed marriage, the string of psychiatrists, and the misery of reluctant fatherhood; throughout he maintains a kind of bizarre balancing act--hilariousness and deep seriousness, conventionality and strangeness. An ironist and a comic, Feder looks unflinchingly at his own foibles and frailties, enabling him to connect to other people's stories.
The reader emerges from this book with a sense of forgiveness for the human condition, and awe at the mystery of human life. Deeply funny, and at the same time breathtakingly dark, this is a book to provoke, amuse and, in some strange way, reassure: God loves a challenge.

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About the Author:

MIKE FEDER grew up in New York City. His writing has appeared in Harper's and the New York Times magazine. He is the author of New York Son (Crown, 1998) and lives in New York City with his wife.

From Publishers Weekly:

In the '80s, a type of performance art sprang up in New York that was half Rousseau, half comedy routine. Karen Finley and Spalding Gray were the pioneers of this form, as was a New York radio personality, Mike Feder. Feder's new book shoehorns the stream-of-experience confessional into the lyrical novel form pioneered by Henry Miller, and the result is a seemingly uncensored cascade of petty vices and city adventures. Usually, this kind of thing is well criticized by La Rochefoucauld's dictum, "The extreme enjoyment we find in talking about ourselves should make us fear that we are not giving very much to our audience." Remarkably enough, Feder never lapses into tedium. His account of his psychological aches and pains his crazy mother in Queens, who eventually killed herself; the two times he spent in mental wards; his distant relationship with his father and search for a father figure after his real father died; the breakup of both of his marriages, his volatile career in New York radio and theater is fed by a high-voltage self-awareness, an utter surrender to his inner rhythms. His descriptions of his first stage monologue "I talked straight ahead, hardly a pause for breath, for at least an hour, sometimes more" could pass as an explanation of the way this book is paced. Sometimes his revelations are embarassing do we need to know all the ways that he competed with his three-year-old daughter, Sarah, for his wife, Susan's, attention? but his inability to sort out the trivial (including an old complaint about a bad review his first book, New York Son, received from PW) from the important lends his book its bizarre, endearing authenticity. (June)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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