Buy Used
$4.99
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

APPROACHING EYE LEVEL Hardcover – September 30, 1996


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$5.78 $3.23

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of January
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; First Edition edition (September 30, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807070904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807070901
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this collection of essays, Vivian Gornick describes battling the unique loneliness that only living alone in a big city can bring. Drawing upon her experience of living on her own in New York after a failed marriage, Gornick characterizes the city's loneliness as, "hot with shame, a loneliness that tells you you're a fool and a loser. Everyone else is feasting, you alone cannot gain a seat at the table." In the essay, "On Living Alone," she writes, "This is a population in a permanent state of intermittent attachment. Inevitably, the silent apartment waits." Recommended reading for anyone who still glamorizes single, metropolitan living.

From Publishers Weekly

Apparently Gornick writes only when she has something to say (Fierce Attachments was published in 1988), with the result that readers may not be conversant with her output of honed observations and unflinching conclusions. She is a New Yorker through and through. No place else in the country, or on the globe for that matter, nurtures her need for contact, variety and pure, random amazement. "The street," she tells us, "does for me what I cannot do for myself. On the street nobody watches, everyone performs." Everyone, that is, but Gornick. She watches a man and woman arguing on Ninth Avenue near the bus station; knowing nothing of the causes or the results of the situation becomes a part of the happening: "She too has New York kinky hair. For the moment that's comradeship enough." But there's more to these seven original essays than a hymn to Manhattan. There is also exploration of that most brutal and unconquerable of human sorrows, loneliness. One can learn more about the human soul from "On Living Alone" than can be absorbed on a first encounter. "Loneliness was me cut off from myself. Loneliness was the thing nothing out there could cure." Without even a flicker of self-pity, these short pieces bear rereading many times. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Like a sympathetic, merciful glance from your best friend, this book was a quick, potent, and important read. Gornick's intelligent essays are marked by the odd brand of effortlessness born only by writing that penetrates. And, as far as being a book about lonliness (among other themes), I found myself feeling particularly unlonely -- even connected (with lord knows what though...Gornick? myself?) -- after putting this down. If you're on the fence, buy it now.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jmz VINE VOICE on January 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading Vivian Gornick's Approaching Eye Level, and I don't even live alone. I didn't read too much into Ms. Gornick's essays; I pretty much took them at face value. Her writing style can be described as a bit rambling but also conversational. She probably write just like she thinks.
My favorite essay was the first one, which discussed her first jobs as a student. I just found them really entertaining, and I guess the one I could relate to the best. The other essays centered a bit around living alone, relationships (both friendships and marriage), and feminism. Overall, this book is a quick and interesting read. I certainly wanted to pick it up throughout the day to read - it wasn't a chore. I'll certainly read more from Ms. Gornick.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book really connected with me. Gornick is a great storyteller and a thoughful observer. She has a fabulous style of writing. It is clear, but so deep. She writes the most amazing insights about ordinary life. It is eloquent, insightful, but not overly academic like I usually expect books of essays to be. I love reading memoirs that reveal a lot about the author's world. If you like the genre, don't pass up this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
I was a fan of Vivian Gornick's from Fierce Attachments, so when I happened upon this book I picked it up. I was absolutely amazed at how much this particular set of essays resonated with me. It was the right book at exactly the right time for me, but I would rate it highly regardless. I do live alone half of the time, and am facing an empty nest soon. I am also struggling with whether the place in which I live is "home," or whether to return after two decades here to where I am from. She hit on both topics with such insight, such wisdom, that reading her words was transformative for me. My favorite section touched upon yearning: she said we yearn for love, and that while it is laudable to want, but not to yearn for. "The yearing is a killer." She explains the problem with yearning: it leads us to sentimentalize, to romanticize, and to forget hard truths. She goes on to say that when she is looking steadily at as much hard truth as she can take on, she has more of herself. Isn't that what we all want? Her discussion of feeling like a fish out of water when she is living away from NYC was also illuminating.... how very important our environment is to our ability to be our true selves. We know that instinctively, but the scenes she describes, and her revealing of her inner thoughts, opened this idea up to me in a fresh way. Thank you, Vivian Gornick, for this book!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?