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Close to the Bone: Memoirs of Hurt, Rage, and Desire

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9780802116185: Close to the Bone: Memoirs of Hurt, Rage, and Desire
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An anthology of memoirs reveals eight authors' experiences with sex, addiction, family, and loneliness

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When Laurie Stone won the 1996 National Book Critics Circle award for excellence in reviewing, her impassioned acceptance speech describing new trends in autobiographical writing sketched a blueprint for this collection. "Memoirs of Hurt, Rage, and Desire" is the subtitle's entirely accurate characterization of eight essays written in a style that Stone dubs "post-therapeutic." What does that mean? A flinty disinclination to comfort is the most notable trait: these writers bare psychic and physical wounds most of us would hesitate to discuss with anyone but our therapist, and they disdain the easy reassurance of tabloid TV, which assumes that getting everything out in the open will make it OK. The pseudonymous Terminator's "Baby Doll," a horrific account of his battered childhood, is the collection's most disturbing entry; Stone's "Hump" is the most conventional (overbearing mother, some consensual, not-too-heavy sadomasochistic sex). Book authors Catherine Texier (Breakup), Lois Gould (Mommy Dressing), Peter Trachtenberg (Seven Tattoos), and Jerry Stahl (Permanent Midnight) are represented with shorter pieces just as bitingly candid as their full-length works. Not for the sentimental or the squeamish, these stories are compulsively readable and hard to forget. --Wendy Smith
From the Back Cover:
Contents:
Brother, by Jane Creighton
Pipe to the Head, by Jerry Stahl
My Father's Picture, by Catherine Texier
Businessman, by Lois Gould
Recalled to Life, by Laurie Stone
The Story of My Father, by Phillip Lopate
I Kiss Her Goodbye, Peter Trachtenberg
Baby Doll, by Terminator

In this controversial anthology, award-winning critic Laurie Stone has created an astonishing collection of memoirs in which eight acclaimed writers go about the risky business of telling their own secrets. Close to the Bone scouts the territories of sex, the family, loneliness, the city, addiction, and AIDS, but these are not passive tales of victimization or sensationalistic scandal sheets. Rather, these writers speak in voices that are unflinching, unerring, and filled with revelation.

"Stone's collection of journeys down dark passages illuminates by means of sheer narrative brilliance."-The Washington Post Book World

"Small gems of the form . . . Engaging, often powerful writing is [this anthology's] common denominator. . . . A substantial collection." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Especially haunting is the input of Terminator. . . . His precocious insights illustrate why Close to the Bone-and memoirs in general-can be so affecting: The traumas of life, turned like clay in the hands of a skillful artisan, can sometimes be sculpted into new forms, illuminating truths previously hidden."-Willamette Week

"Addresses the memoir in our time and the culture of confession and recovery . . . Reminds us why [Laurie Stone] is one of our most valued critics."-Kirkus Reviews

Laurie Stone is the author of Starting with Serge, a novel, and Laughing in the Dark, a collection of essays on comic performance. She won the 1996 Book Critics' Circle Award for Excellence in Reviewing. She is the theater critic for The Nation.

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9780802135827: Close to the Bone: Memoirs of Hurt, Rage, and Desire

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Publisher: Grove Press, 1998
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