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Self Portraits: Fictionsby Frederic Tuten
Synopses & Reviews
These mysterious, interrelated stories create a portrait of the author's life, both real and imagined, as he appears in each tale variously as hero, bystander, artist, and ghost, yielding an enchanting autobiography of the imagination.
Fantasy and reality collide as the book's principal characters — two lovers — meet, part, and reunite, time and again, at different stages in life and in landscapes both familiar and exotic. Death appears as a genial waiter in a cafe across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; talking circus elephants console a ringmaster for his unrequited love; a young boy barters with pirates for his grandmother's soul; and as a refrigerator begins spilling mini-glaciers into a couple's East Village apartment, a voyage to Antarctica commences on an icy schooner waiting for them in Tompkins Square Park.
Love, and its mystery, is at the core of these self portraits, but love also for art, for adventure, and for the passion of being alive.
"Inspired by the stories the author read to his possibly illiterate Sicilian grandmother as a child, these nested narratives are told by couples traveling through hallucinatory, romantic landscapes. As the traveler in 'Self Portrait with Sicily' rides a train through the Bronx, boundaries between worlds, geography, and generations blur, transporting him through Sicily and the rural landscape of his Nonna. On a honeymoon in Spain, the narrator of 'Self Portrait with Bullfight' decides that 'forbearance' is the key to a lasting marriage and proceeds to try the patience of his new bride with a long-winded tale of the 'frisson of rivalry' between two youths vying for the attentions of a Gypsy woman. In 'Self Portrait with Cheese,' an allegory about a family of bears that flees the circus only to languish, bored, in their freedom, offers a convoluted fable about the needs of artists. Tuten's (The Green Hour) polished stories of beauty, longing, and loss are relatable, yet strange enough that they constantly pique. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"An amazing, glittering, glowing, Proustian, Conradian, Borgesian, diamond-faceted, language-studded, myth-drowned Dream!" Cynthia Ozick
About the Author
Frederic Tuten is the author of Tintin in the New World. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Distinguished Writing.
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