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Confessions of a Left-Handed Man: An Artist's Memoir

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Peter Selgin was cursed/blessed with an unusual childhood. The son of Italian immigrants—his father an electronics inventor and a mother so good looking UPS drivers swerved off their routes to see her—Selgin spent his formative years scrambling among the hat factory ruins of a small Connecticut town, visiting doting—and dotty—relatives in the “old world,” watching mental giants clash at Mensa gatherings, enduring Pavlovian training sessions with a grandmother bent on “curing” his left-handedness, and competing savagely with his right-handed twin.It’s no surprise, then, that Selgin went on from these peculiar beginnings to do . . . well, nearly everything. Confessions of a Left-Handed Man is a bold, unblushing journey down roads less traveled. Whether recounting his work driving a furniture delivery truck, his years as a caricaturist, his obsession with the Titanic that compelled him to complete seventy-five paintings of the ship(in sinking and nonsinking poses), or his daily life as a writer, from start to finish readers are treated to a vividly detailed, sometimes hilarious, often moving, but always memorable life.In this modern-day picaresque, Selgin narrates an artist’s journey from unconventional roots through gritty experience to artistic achievement. With an elegant narrative voice that is, by turns, frank, witty, and acid-tongued, Selgin confronts his past while coming to terms with approaching middle age, reaching self-understanding tempered by reflection, regret, and a sharply self-deprecating sense of humor.

Review:

"In this witty collection of autobiographical essays, Selgin (Drowning Lessons) clambers atop the building blocks of an artistic life to survey its attendant struggles and epiphanies. First, Selgin was a visual artist, a mentally and physically taxing vocation he recalls in 'Dead to Rights: Confessions of a Caricaturist.' Able to quickly capture his subject's essence in pen-and-ink (it's all in the eyes), Selgin worked for a decade in the bizarre world of birthday and other entertainment party caricaturists, until quitting to write. The title essay, in which he recounts the dog attack that threatened his career and muses on the meaning of left-handedness, beautifully melds the personal and the philosophical. Yet the strongest pieces do not overtly relate to Selgin's artistic pursuits but instead detail his relationship with his family. In 'Dagos in Mayberry,' he recounts his experiences as the son of Italian immigrants in a small Connecticut town, where his parents' 'otherness' both pleased and embarrassed him (his mother's cooking and his father's insistence on riding a rusty bike while wearing black knee socks, respectively). As evidenced by 'Restaurant,' which brings a childhood game to bear on the author's newfound role as caretaker of his ailing father, Selgin deftly balances humor and tenderness throughout these life-affirming confessions. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

In this modern-day picaresque, Selgin narrates an artist’s journey from unconventional roots through gritty experience to artistic achievement. With an elegant narrative voice that is, by turns, frank, witty, and acid-tongued, Selgin confronts his past while coming to terms with approaching middle age, reaching self-understanding tempered by reflection, regret, and a sharply self-deprecating sense of humor.

About the Author

Peter Selgin is currently the Viebranz Distinguished Writer in Residence at St. Lawrence University, in Canton, New York. Winner of the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award for Fiction for his story collection Drowning Lessons, Selgin has also published a novel, Life Goes to the Movies, and two works on the fiction writer’s craft, 179 Ways to Save a Novel: Matters of Vital Concern to Fiction Writers and By Cunning and Craft: Sound Advice and Practical Wisdom for Fiction Writers.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781609380564
Author:
Selgin, Peter
Publisher:
University of Iowa Press
Subject:
Biography-Artists Architects and Photographers
Edition Description:
1
Series:
Sightline Books
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
207
Dimensions:
9 x 5.75 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Artists, Architects, and Photographers
Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Confessions of a Left-Handed Man: An Artist's Memoir New Trade Paper
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Product details 207 pages University of Iowa Press - English 9781609380564 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this witty collection of autobiographical essays, Selgin (Drowning Lessons) clambers atop the building blocks of an artistic life to survey its attendant struggles and epiphanies. First, Selgin was a visual artist, a mentally and physically taxing vocation he recalls in 'Dead to Rights: Confessions of a Caricaturist.' Able to quickly capture his subject's essence in pen-and-ink (it's all in the eyes), Selgin worked for a decade in the bizarre world of birthday and other entertainment party caricaturists, until quitting to write. The title essay, in which he recounts the dog attack that threatened his career and muses on the meaning of left-handedness, beautifully melds the personal and the philosophical. Yet the strongest pieces do not overtly relate to Selgin's artistic pursuits but instead detail his relationship with his family. In 'Dagos in Mayberry,' he recounts his experiences as the son of Italian immigrants in a small Connecticut town, where his parents' 'otherness' both pleased and embarrassed him (his mother's cooking and his father's insistence on riding a rusty bike while wearing black knee socks, respectively). As evidenced by 'Restaurant,' which brings a childhood game to bear on the author's newfound role as caretaker of his ailing father, Selgin deftly balances humor and tenderness throughout these life-affirming confessions. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
In this modern-day picaresque, Selgin narrates an artist’s journey from unconventional roots through gritty experience to artistic achievement. With an elegant narrative voice that is, by turns, frank, witty, and acid-tongued, Selgin confronts his past while coming to terms with approaching middle age, reaching self-understanding tempered by reflection, regret, and a sharply self-deprecating sense of humor.
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