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Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005 Paperback – September 18, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Inasmuch as I had read and valued highly two of Sante's previous books ("Low Life" and "The Factory of Facts"), I bought this book with high expectations simply because it was by Luc Sante. But reading 25 disparate pieces, with no real unifying threads or themes, was not quite as smooth sailing as I had anticipated. I could only read two or three at a time, over several weeks. And, unfortunately, the least interesting pieces (at least to me) were the ones on New York City at the beginning of the book. But the intrinsic interest picked up after the first 110 pages, with the high points, to my mind, being the pieces on Bob Dylan, Buddy Bolden, the origin/invention of the blues, Hegre and the Tintin books, Walker Evans, two of Michael Lesy's books of American photographs, and Robert Mapplethorpe.
Sante is a keen observer and often insightful commentator regarding popular and "middlebrow" culture as well as the underbelly and detritus of American life. He writes well and with a distinctive voice. (An example: "All kinds of thoroughly debunked specimens -- the noble cowboy, the contented housewife, the edenic small-town past -- continue to stagger along in the collective imagination because of their proven effectiveness as topical analgesics for reality-based headaches.Read more ›
The essays in this collection include pieces on art, photography, poetry and music, and some more idiosyncratic meditations -- on cigarettes, on factory work, on 'hipness', on the harm done to New York City by Rudy Giuliani, on the particular madness that characterizes New Year celebrations. Sante's Belgian origins are reflected in essays about Magritte and Tintin, respectively. Other pieces deal with Victor Hugo, the photography of Walker Evans and of Robert Mapplethorpe. There is a moving tribute to Allen Ginsberg, who lived in the same NY apartment building as Sante for over ten years.
Though I had no great prior interest in the musical evolution of Bob Dylan or the origin of the blues, Sante's writing is so seductive that I read both pieces, and was riveted throughout. He's just that good. This is an awe-inspiring collection.
My favorite essay was hands-down the one about cigarettes. Though Tintin was pretty fun as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Purchased as I thought it was a 'How-to' book. Turns out it is not. I was disappointed at first, but then I started reading this collection of essays by Luc Sante (and what, this... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dr. Lorenzo Kincade