From Publishers Weekly
Stover (The Bombshell Manual of Style) wrote her playful anthropology of Bohemian culture from an insiders viewpoint. The daughter of Bohemians, at one time a fully practicing Bohemian, and a now a Bohemian "with some bourgeois pretense," she is clearly steeped in the lifestyle. In this book, she documents the most important attributes of the five variations of Bohemians (Nouveau, Gypsy, Beat, Zen and Dandy) and of Bohemian philosophy generally, beginning with a "diagnosis" that serves mostly to emphasize how varied Bohemians are and how fiercely they resist any kind of classification. Stover is fully aware of the futile nature of her quest to pin down such elusive characters, and her writing is accordingly ironic, full of asides and amusing pseudo-scholarly footnotes. The books four main parts describe Bohemians in all their counterculture splendor, with short sections on everything from typical Bohemian names ("they name their offspring with the same whimsical sensibility with which they name their pets"), clothes, typical relationships, choice of reading material and music, and eating habits (featuring "The Twenty-Four-Hour Menu of the Starving Bohemian"). In fictionalized profiles of nine Bohemians from around the world, including Dantini the septuagenarian magician and Atlas the Dutch artist, Stover brings these unusual figures to life in a wonderfully familiar way. True Bohemians certainly wont need this book to decide whether theyre Bohemian, but may enjoy these humorous takes on their subculture, and non-Bohemians will find it a delightful introduction to that unique existence.
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About the Author
Laren Stover is the author of The Bombshell Manual of Style, and a novel, Pluto, Animal Lover, a finalist for The Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers award. She has been a resident of Yaddo and Hawthornden Castle and received the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant for fiction in 1991. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Bomb, and The New York Observer. She lives in New York.