Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling author of The Orchid Thief
is back with this delightfully entertaining collection of her best and brightest profiles. Acclaimed New Yorker writer Susan Orlean brings her wry sensibility, exuberant voice, and peculiar curiosities to a fascinating range of subjects—from the well known (Bill Blass) to the unknown (a typical ten-year-old boy) to the formerly known (the 1960s girl group the Shaggs).
Passionate people. Famous people. Short people. And one championship show dog named Biff, who from a certain angle looks a lot like Bill Clinton. Orlean transports us into the lives of eccentric and extraordinary characters—like Cristina Sánchez, the eponymous bullfighter, the first female matador of Spain—and writes with such insight and candor that readers will feel as if theyve met each and every one of them.
The result is a luminous and joyful tour of the human condition as seen through the eyes of the writer heralded by the Chicago Tribune as a “journalist dynamo.”
"A voyeur's delight: expertly framed windows into the cosmology of the human experience. Like a magician producing rabbits and silk scarves onstage, Orlean presents her subjects effortlessly and without ornamentation while she recedes into the background. This makes for crisp, elegant writing....While at times Orlean's subjects are splendidly odd and often frightening or even off-putting, they're also presented with immense affection, respect, and focus. They reintroduce readers to a sense of possibility and help us see the world again." Diana Abu-Jaber, The Miami Herald
"Reading Bullfighter will leave you convinced that the world is much wider and stranger than you had thought and that the most ordinary-seeming people are often the most remarkable." Us Weekly
"Susan Orlean is a master of the quick sketch....She writes arresting, short pieces, serendipitous material that readers stumble across by chance, then read on, transfixed by the casual grace and beauty of these miniatures." San Francisco Chronicle
"Orleans snapshot-vivid, pitch-perfect prose...is fast becoming one of our national treasures." The Washington Post Book World
"Orlean's curiosity, faith in improvisation, fundamental respect and fondness for humankind, and ready sense of humor inform each of these well-crafted pieces. She knows how to be present without being intrusive, how to share impressions rather than offer analysis, and how to let her subjects reveal themselves....[Orlean pulls] up the blinds on one intriguing life after another to extend her readers' knowledge of our dazzlingly diverse world." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Through the power of energetic reporting and sharp writing, the national character is precisely what Orlean captures. She is a kind of latter-day Tocqueville." The New York Times Book Review
"One of the New Yorker's most distinctive stylists, Orlean has a knack for capturing 'something extraordinary in [the] ordinariness' of her subjects. Most are completely unknown, or were before she wrote about them in these 20 essays and profiles....Disarming but disciplined, Orlean's style is unobtrusively first person, with deft leads: 'If I were a bitch, I'd be in love with Biff Truesdale,' she writes, opening a story on a prize show dog." Publishers Weekly
Now in paperback comes the wonderfully entertaining, bestselling collection of the "New Yorker" writer's brightest profiles. "A voyeur's delight: expertly framed windows into the cosmology of the human experience . . . (these profiles) reintroduce readers to a sense of possibility and help us see the world again."--Diana Abu-Jaber, "Miami Herald."
About the Author
Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. Her articles have also appeared in Outside, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and Esquire. She is the author of Saturday Night, a New York Times Notable Book of 1990, which, in the words of Entertainment Weekly, "calls to mind Damon Runyon, Evelyn Waugh, and screwball comedy"; and the national bestseller, The Orchid Thief. She lives in New York City.