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The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate

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The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate Cover

ISBN13: 9781586483630
ISBN10: 1586483633
Condition: Standard
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From "The Pragmatist"

After the house tour, which concludes with Ping-Pong, Darman is pressed over dinner to proceed with the formal interview he has promised? sitting down, with the tape recorder running. No, he says, he will only talk "on background," meaning that anything he says may be quoted, but not attributed to him. He doesn't want to do it for the tape recorder ? oh, and also, he doesn't really want to talk about his early life; that's all just tedious detail.

We are at an impasse, neither willing to abide by the other's ground rules. For now, a tour of his house is as close as we may get to a tour of his mind. The enduring image of the evening will have to be this one: of Darman, unprompted, flinging open the door of a closet to illustrate something he is saying about his marriage ? then quickly instructing me that the closet's contents are off the record, not to be written about. Look at me, he says. But do not see....


From "Entomophobia"

I find myself on my hands and knees in the back yard, holding a green plastic magnifying glass. I am trying, with my son, to catch an ant....And to my surprise, I love our insect hours. Part of it is the familiar way that time slows and expands when you make yourself truly stop and be where your child is, doing what he is doing, trying neither to manage nor to escape it. As Willie searches, his self-consciousness falls away. I can surreptitiously inventory his newly skinny body, the arms and legs that are suddenly, shockingly long. (I did love that little boy.) I can covet the sweet spot at the back of his neck, just below his hairline, until he shoots a swift glance upward at me: "Oh Mommy, you missed it. You were supposed to look at the spider." He says this with sympathy, for my opportunity lost....


From "The Doctor Factor"

My most memorable brushes [with irritable doctors] have been with an eminent surgeon whose method is to stride into the examining room two hours late, pat your hand, pronounce your certain death if he can't perform an operation on you, and then snap at your husband to stop taking notes, he can't possibly follow the complexity of the doctor's thinking. Dr. X swats away questions like flies. He spends five precious minutes swearing at the wallmounted phone, which decades of surgical experience have not equipped him to operate, and then finally pronounces that he can't perform the surgery. "Unless you want me to. But there's a 50-50 chance I would kill you."

Why is it, I ask my husband on the way home, that I'm the one who's sick, but they're the ones who are allowed to have the big, operatic personalities?

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Sandy, June 22, 2007 (view all comments by Sandy)
This book is not only a fabulous read for the rich history of Washington, D.C. but a look into the writer's struggle with a disease that ultimately took her life. She is able to overcome the fact that she is dying in order to live her life to the fullest for the remaining time left. It is a life lesson that we could all take to heart, for we will all be faced with this reality in life.
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Product Details

Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate
Marjorie Williams and Timothy Noah
Noah, Timothy
Williams, Marjorie
Women's Studies - History
Political culture
Personal Memoirs
United States - State & Local - General
Government - U.S. Government
Government - National
General Biography
Edition Number:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
November 10, 2005
9.25 x 6.13 in 23.4 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Journalism » General
History and Social Science » Journalism » Journalists
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Political Science
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
Metaphysics » General

The Woman at the Washington Zoo: Writings on Politics, Family, and Fate Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages PublicAffairs - English 9781586483630 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Washington, D.C., is a city ruled by insiders, and few writers have broken through the social and public politics that govern it as eloquently as Williams. This posthumous collection presents a series of remarkably well-observed and intelligent profiles of the great and minor figures who have made D.C. for the past two decades. Williams, a longtime writer for the Washington Post and Vanity Fair, has a fine eye for telling details — the license plates on a bureaucrat's car, the folds of satin in a dying socialite's dress — but it's more than just details that make Williams's profiles so engaging. Underlying each representation is Williams's ability to make her characters as complicated on the page as they are in real life. It's that same concern that governs the heartbreaking personal pieces in the last third of the book, which covers Williams's losing battle with cancer. Here she is on her impending death: 'whatever happens to me now, I've earned the knowledge some people never gain, that my span is finite and I still have the chance to rise and rise to life's generosity.' In these final pieces, Williams steps out from under the self-effacing veil that made her such a fine journalist and speaks of her own experiences. The result is a collection of writing that dissolves the boundaries between the personal and the political to arrive at an obvious but no less startling conclusion." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Somewhat dated but a nonetheless rich collection framing the kinds of people, fair and foul, destined to make Washington tick."
"Review" by , "This book is required reading for all students of politics because Williams reveals the human motivations behind the narrative dramas that played out in the nation's capital during the last 15 years."
"Review" by , "For those who have never read Williams' work, The Woman at the Washington Zoo offers many pleasures and surprises. For those already familiar with her writing, this collection is a splendid memorial to an elegant prose stylist."
"Review" by , "Williams's journalistic gifts include her delicious use of detail, wicked humor and a psychological insight so telling it raises the question of why anyone ever agreed to submit to her scrutiny."
"Review" by , "At first glance, the appeal of The Woman at the Washington Zoo seems limited to those who were familiar with Williams before her death. But readers who are simply looking for great writing won't be disappointed."
"Review" by , "[C]ombines peerless political anthropology with heartbreaking insight into the complexities of family life and her own struggle with cancer."
"Review" by , "What a tragedy that this superb writer — and woman — is no longer with us, but how lucky we are that she left us these marvelous writings. This is a book to treasure, as we did her."
"Review" by , "Brilliant and unusual....[I]ndispensable."
"Synopsis" by ,
One of Washington's finest writers on people, politics, and life — collected for the first time.
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