Synopses & Reviews
Wendy Lessers new book is an inspired intellectual romp: part memoir, part criticism, though actually a bracing, larkish reinvention of them both” (Lawrence Weschler). Revisiting her favorite books after the passage of twenty or thirty years, Lesser is stirred by the changes she findsin the books, in herself, and in the wider world. If NOTHING REMAINS THE SAME is a book about reading, it is also a book about time, with rereading as a special form of time travel.
From classic novels such as ANNA KARENINA and THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY to a charming tale for young adults called I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, from nonfiction by George Orwell and Henry Adams to poetry by Wordsworth and Milton, from the deeply American HUCKLEBERRY FINN to works in translation like DON QUIXOTE and THE IDIOT, Lesser covers the whole literary spectrum. NOTHING REMAINS THE SAME is a witty and humane exploration of what books can mean to our lives and vice versa, by a writer who has the gift of enabling a reader to grasp the deeper workings of art forms, both high and low, in the act of describing how they affect her” (James Shapiro, New York Times Book Review).
From classic novels to poetry, Lessing covers the whole literary spectrum in this witty and humane exploration of what books can mean to our lives, and vice versa.
From the esteemed cultural critic and journalist Wendy Lesser, Nothing Remains the Same is a bibliophile's dream: a book about the pleasures and surprises of rereading, a witty, intelligent exploration of what books can mean to our lives. Compared with reading, the act of rereading is far more personal -- it involves the interaction of our past selves, our present selves, and literature. With candor, humor, and grace, Lesser takes us on a guided tour of her own return to books she once knew, from the plays of Shakespeare to twentieth-century novels by Kingsley Amis and Ian McEwan, from the childhood favorite I Capture the Castle to classic novels such as Anna Karenina and Huckleberry Finn, from nonfiction by Henry Adams to poetry by Wordsworth. Lesser conveys an infectious love of reading and inspires us all to take another look at the books we've read to find the unexpected treasures they might offer.
About the Author
Wendy Lesser is the author of His Other Half: Men Looking at Women through Art, Pictures at an Execution, and A Director Calls (Faber and Faber, UK, 97), a bio. of Stephen Daldry. Lesser was also editor of Hiding in Plain Sight: Essays in Criticism and Autobiography. Her latest book, The Amateur, is an intellectual biography in which she explores the intersection of art and experience (Pantheon, 99). A winner of the Pen/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing in 1997, Lesser lives in California where she is the editor of The Threepenny Review.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments ix Reflections / 1 The First Novel / 9 Adolescence / 28 Recollected in Tranquillity / 44 An Education / 60 A Young Womans Mistakes / 75 All Kinds of Madness / 92 A Small Masterpiece / 112 The Face Behind the Page / 125 Late Shakespeare / 141 The Tree of Knowledge / 159 McEwan in Time / 174 The Strange Case of Huck and Jim / 186 A Literary Career / 201 Hitchcocks Vertigo / 213 Index 229