Charles D'Ambrosio's essays are excitingly good. They are relevant in the way that makes you read them out loud, to anyone who happens to be around. Their subjects include Hell House, a Christian haunted house in Texas designed for conversion; Mary Kay Letourneau (at the time of her trial); whaling rights for the Makah Tribe in Alaska; his brother's suicide; and the title piece, about life in a Russian orphanage. D'Ambrosio's essays do what good essays should do: they migrate from the overt situation to personal extrapolation to the larger cultural or artistic or philosophical implications of the subject at hand. As such, they have a timeless quality about them; and at times they move, charmingly, more like poems than like essays. Absolutely accessible and incredibly intelligent, his work is an astounding relief — as though someone is finally trying to puzzle all the disparate, desperate pieces of the world together again. Recommended By Jill O., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Charles D'Ambrosio's essay collection Orphans spawned something of a cult following. In the decade since the tiny limited-edition volume sold out its print run, its devotees have pressed it upon their friends, students, and colleagues, only to find themselves begging for their copy's safe return. For anyone familiar with D'Ambrosio's writing, this enthusiasm should come as no surprise. His work is exacting and emotionally generous, often as funny as it is devastating. Loitering gathers those eleven original essays with new and previously uncollected work so that a broader audience might discover one of our great living essayists. No matter his subject Native American whaling, a Pentecostal hell house,” Mary Kay Letourneau, the work of J. D. Salinger, or, most often, his own family D'Ambrosio approaches each piece with a singular voice and point of view; each essay, while unique and surprising, is unmistakably his own.
"These essays merge a supple, sensitive mind with personal prose that surprises like sparks from a Roman candle." Shelf Awareness
"Erudite essays that plumb the hearts of many contemporary darknesses." Kirkus
"D'Ambrosio hasn't published anything less than brilliant, but Loitering is remarkable even by his standards." Portland Mercury
About the Author
Charles D'Ambrosio is the author of two collections of short stories, The Point and The Dead Fish Museum, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the essay collection Orphans. He's been the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award and a Lannan Fellowship, among other honors. His work has appeared frequently in The New Yorker, as well as in Tin House, The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, and A Public Space. He teaches fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.