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The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature: The Collected Writings of Neal Pollack Paperback – March 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (March 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060004533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060004538
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,518,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It should come as no surprise that The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature is the inaugural title from McSweeney's Books, the publishing arm of Dave Eggers's literary quarterly McSweeney's. There appears to be two Neal Pollacks at work in the literary world. There's the legendary award-winning writer who has covered such global crises as the Spanish Civil War and 1999's "Battle in Seattle"; who has been married multiple times and romantically linked to Lara Flynn Boyle and Zadie Smith; and who counts Bishop Desmond Tutu and the Utah Jazz's Karl Malone among his closest friends. Then there's the real Neal Pollack, the young writer responsible for this comical tribute to the hard-drinking, fistfighting, wounded White Male egos behind the banged-up typewriters of first-person journalism. The high jinks begin in the table of contents, with such bloated chapter headings as "The Burden of Internet Celebrity" and "Why Am I So Handsome?"--hinting at what's to come. There's a detailed chronology included ("1959: Goes to Hollywood. Blacklisted.") and a nifty Zelig-like collection of photographs capturing Pollack (shirtless, more often than not, in his khaki photojournalist vest and aviator shades) yachting with J.F.K.; posing with a mud-caked platoon in Vietnam; and tuxedoed, escorting Mia Farrow to Truman Capote's Black and White Ball. Highlights include a transcript of Pollack's surprise appearance during a 1996 taping of Oprah's "other favorite author," Toni Morrison, where he offers this nugget to readers: "Oprah expanded my readership like no television program ever; not even my brief stint on Laugh-In gave me such wide exposure to Ma and Pa United States." Despite the one-joke tone of this slim volume, Pollack's clever wit prevails throughout, leaving a highly entertaining satire in its wake. --Brad Thomas Parsons --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Not terrible at all.” (Judith Shulevitz, New York Times Book Review)

More About the Author

Neal Pollack (born March 1, 1970) is an American satirist, novelist, short story writer, and journalist. He lives in Austin, Texas. Pollack has written eight books: The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, Never Mind the Pollacks, Beneath the Axis of Evil, Alternadad, Stretch, Jewball, Downward-Facing Death, and Open Your Heart.

Customer Reviews

This book is hilarious.
C. Colt
In 'The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature', every story is packed with vivid language that provides for the greatest book on the face of this earth.
Brooks Reitz
While it may take only an afternoon to read, it'll be a well-spent afternoon.
Dave

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Frank Lynch on October 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Will the "thought piece" that pollutes our magazines and newspapers ever be the same after this book?
Probably.
Unfortunately.
But that's not due to Pollack's efforts: he has adopted a persona and style here which is outrageous and hilarious, and lampoons so many of the tedious articles we've read in the tony magazines. He has puffed up his free-lance narrator in marvelous fashion, with the most hilariously adulatory jacket I've ever read, and a self-conscious prose that is worth sharing with all your friends. One very small example will suffice: on a dock, eating his breakfast banana, the free-lance journalist writes, "my knees trembled with the knowledge that this could be my last food until lunch."
No, Pollack will not change the world with this sublime volume. Not yet. Would that he could!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mikko on August 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
im not in the book-selling biz, but The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature is the funniest f-ing thing ive read since `Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" twenty years ago. Its a spinal tap for modern lit. It begins with this introduction:
"Recently, as I entertained a variety of friends and acquaintances (many of whom are employed in publishing and the arts), at my modest yet comfortable summer estate in Malta, it occurred to me that I am almost definitely the greatest writer of my time. I strained to think of others who could challenge my position, but they were too provincial,too tweedy, or too dead. No. I towered above the corroded wreckage that is American letters."
he exquisitely violates every level of literary sense - his leads are so bad theyre classic, his metaphors so tired they "glisten like a glistening jewel" -- this book not only makes me howl when i see vanity fair, or gore vidal, or norman mailer or oliver stone, or a couple of local friends anymore, it makes me nervous about including myself in my own writing - and best of all if one were to strip the style convention from the 'tome' the stories are roaringly ridiculous - this book accomplishes everything bret easton ellis tries to do - without all the posing
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Pollack has an different style using a near solipsistic approach to everything. At first it is funny. His aping of classic texts gives the same feeling as getting an obscure joke on 'The Simpsons' - you feel happy about being so smart and everyone else is soooo bourgeois.... But after reading through five or ten of the shorts, it gets tiresome. Every piece seems to be the same story in a different setting. I would rather read some actual literature than this joke book.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steve Brandon on December 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After recently reading both Dave Eggars' "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" (which was wonderful) and his delightfully articulated rant against bad taste and bad art (directed at a poor writer for the Harvard Advocate), I was genuinely optimistic that Neal Pollack's book (published by Eggars's imprint, McSweeney's Books) would be a worthwhile follow-up read to "AHWOSG." Alas, Pollack's book, while clever and dead-on accurate in its parody of first-person journalism, wears thin very quickly, and the joke becomes fast repetitive. Borrow this book from the library, but save your money.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Colt on April 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Neal Pollack has written a splendid, hilarious, and badly needed parody of self-centered white male authors. His targets range from credible authors such as Gore Vidal and Hemmingway, to more minute members of the species such as Sebastian Junger. And while Pollack may not be aware of it, he has splendidly managed to ridicule the hubris, egotism, and total lack of talent of more obscure "all about me" writers such as Thomas Beller.
Many critics have argued that Pollack's joke was too narrow to warrant the number of pages contained in this modest sized volume. While it is true that some of the parodies are not as funny as others, the book remains, diverse, interesting, and consistently funny. In "The Albania of My Existence", Pollack (clearly imitating Sebastian Junger) discusses what war torn Albania means to his identity and his accomplishments. In "I Am Friends with a Working Class Black Woman" he mirrors countless White guys who believe they are cool enough to understand and to be accepted by poor black people. In "It is Easy to Take a Love in Cuba", Pollack... well, you get the idea. This book is hilarious. It strips egotistical, White male authors and puts them on display. There is no reason why we can't enjoy the writing of some of those authors and also enjoy the skillful manner in which Pollack roasts them.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Knight on October 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Neal Pollack is a genius with the pen. Nothing is too pure to molest, nothing is too sick to reveal. Mr. Pollack is a legend in his own time and is quite deserving of your attention and respect. You should do what you can to form a cult and sacrifice yourself immediately after his next tour. No, don't do that. You must stick around and buy multiple copies of every book he writes. When he dies, we must pick up the pen and create new works under his name for the masses. Special cloaks will have to be made. Incense will have to be purchased. Colorful translucent plastic sandals will be fashioned. We shall overcome. Dance my beautiful shadow, dance.
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