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Parachutes & Kisses Paperback – August 3, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Erica Jong is the author of nineteen books of poetry, fiction, and memoir, including Fear of Flying, which has more than 18 million copies in print worldwide. Her most recent essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, and she is a frequent guest on television talk shows. Currently working on a novel featuring Isadora Wing—the heroine of Fear of Flying—as a woman of a certain age, Erica and her lawyer husband live in New York City and Connecticut. Her daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, is also an author.

Erica Jong left a Ph.D. program at Columbia to write her ground-breaking novel Fear of Flying, published in 1973. Jong is the author of numerous award-winning books of poetry and novels including Fanny, How to Save Your Own Life, Parachutes and Kisses, Any Woman’s Blues, and the forthcoming Sappho’s Leap. She is also the author of the memoir Fear of Fifty. She lives in New York City and Connecticut.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (August 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585425001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585425006
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

(Bio used
Erica Jong--novelist, poet, and essayist--has consistently used her craft to help provide women with a powerful and rational voice in forging a feminist consciousness. She has published 23 books, including nine novels, seven volumes of poetry, six books of non-fiction and numerous articles in magazines and newspapers such as The New York Times, The Sunday Times of London, Elle, Vogue, The New York Times Book Review and The Wall Street Journal.

In her groundbreaking first novel, Fear of Flying (20 million in print around the world in more than forty languages), she introduced Isadora Wing, who also plays a central part in three subsequent novels--How to Save Your Own Life, Parachutes and Kisses, and Any Woman's Blues. In her three historical novels--Fanny, Shylock's Daughter, and Sappho's Leap--she demonstrates her mastery of eighteenth-century British literature, the verses of Shakespeare, and ancient Greek lyric, respectively. Erica's memoir of her life as a writer, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, came out in March 2006. It was a national bestseller in the US and many other countries. Erica's much anticipated novel, Fear of Dying, is due for publication by St. Martin's Press in September 2015.

A graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University's Graduate Faculties where she received her M.A. in 18th Century English Literature, Erica Jong also attended Columbia's graduate writing program where she studied poetry with Stanley Kunitz and Mark Strand. In 2008, continuing her long-standing relationship with the university, a large collection of Erica's archival material was acquired by Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library, where it will be available to graduate and undergraduate students. Ms. Jong plans to teach master classes at Columbia and also advise the Rare Book Library on the acquisition of other women writers' archives.

Calling herself "a defrocked academic," Ms. Jong has partly returned to her roots as a scholar. She has taught at Ben Gurion University in Israel, Bennington College in the U.S., Breadloaf Writers' Conference in Vermont and many other distinguished writing programs and universities. She loves to teach and lecture, though her skill in these areas has sometimes crowded her writing projects. "As long as I am communicating the gift of literature, I'm happy," Jong says. A poet at heart, Ms. Jong believes that words can save the world.

Known for her commitment to women's rights, authors' rights and free expression, Ms. Jong is a frequent lecturer in the U.S. and abroad. She served as president of The Authors' Guild from 1991 to 1993 and still serves on the Board. She established a program for young writers at her alma mater, Barnard College. The Erica Mann Jong Writing Center at Barnard teaches students the art of peer tutoring and editing.
Erica Jong was honored with the United Nations Award for Excellence in Literature. She has also received Poetry magazine's Bess Hokin Prize, also won by W.S. Merwin and Sylvia Plath. In France, she received the Deauville Award for Literary Excellence and in Italy, she received the Sigmund Freud Award for Literature. The City University of New York awarded Ms. Jong an honorary PhD at the College of Staten Island. In June 2009, Erica won the first Fernanda Pivano Prize for Literature in Italy.

Erica Jong lives in New York City and Weston, CT with her husband, attorney Ken Burrows, and standard poodle, Belinda Barkowitz. Her daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, is also a writer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on October 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It is so rare to read follow-on novels that are in fact better than the original bestseller and continuing to improve. This one is perhaps even better - certainly more mature - than How to Save Your Life. I still think that for a hilarious and yet sad reflection of the pre-Aids 1970s and early 1980s, Jong is simply our best novelist. The psychology, the needs, the pain, and the ironies are so realistically and touchingly rendered that I found myself completely believing in the character. It is a first-rate effort and a pity that it is out of print.
While this is yet another novel about divorce and the search for both perfect love and always-spectacular sex, the protagonist has grown into a kind of world weariness along with her concerns on how to bring up her daughter. While she is still willing to experiment with guacomole in the nether regions, it is about entering middle age, with the baggage that so many of us carry, and yet keeping one's idealism and hope alive. The passages on her ex-husband are divinely insightful and comic, from his inability to become independent of powerful parents (and how that hinders his own creative development); I still chuckle about her exmother-in-law - in her quip "at least she's s nice girl" - "demolishing" both her son's new girlfriend and his ex-wife in one sentence. (Isadora "marvelled" at her effiecincy.)
Highest recommendation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By girldiver on August 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
"How to Save Your Own Life" closed with Isadora basking in the sunset of Malibu with her young prince happily ever after and on that note we open to the first sentence of Parachutes and Kisses only to discover paradise in Malibu has eluded our heroin. Isadora Wing has been through analysis, found writing success, a third marriage, and a child only to discover she married a child and then had one with him.

Distraught and lost, Isadora journeys through another divorce, tax problems, single motherhood, and endless nannies looking for her demon lover. Parachutes and Kisses chronicles more exploration of self with regard to the love she feels for her third husband and the obvious pain of divorce, especially when there is a child involved.

This is another great book from Erica Jong about finder yourself and the inner strength that knowing who you are and what you're capable of brings. If you read Erica Jongs' book: Seducing the Demon Writing for My Life, which is somewhat of a short memoir, you might recognize some of the characters in Parachutes and Kisses.

A wonderful book!

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Persephone on February 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
Nowadays they have treatment centers for people with this affliction, but way back when this book was published it was considered daring and exciting. The heroine never meets a man she doesn't want to trot off to bed with and describe the coupling in minute detail. After awhile, every time she met a man (no matter how unappetizing) I'd wince, thinking, "Oh here we go again" and brace myself. It seemed aimless and pointless and pathetic. At one point the heroine says (moaning yet again about some man who had done her wrong), that he had separated her from the two things that meant the most to her: her child and her writing. But in truth she doesn't seem to care much about either of them and treats them as peripherals in her life while she pursues her sweaty encounters with anyone with a Y chromosome.

Join Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, and Rob Lowe...just don't write about it.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved Erica Jong and FOF, but was really disappointed with this book.
She is still wondering why she hasn't found her "one true love." Isadora has become sort of pathetic, really. She mistakes hedonism with happiness, like a 400-pound binge eater with heartburn hoping another bag of cookies will make them feel light and energetic again.
But in this case she sleeps with anything in pants, drinks and uses drugs and wonders why her so-called "relationships" don't last. If she didn't seem to take herself so seriously I would think that was the lesson in the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Biljana Oreskovic on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In this third part of Fear of Flying book, main character Izadora Wing is not the narrator, narrator is Erica. Since the frist two books were writen in a diary like manner, I don't see any reason why third book isn't consistent. Besides, it seems that Erica in this book is trying to hard to be even more provocative than in first two books, to the limit that it's becoming tiresome. Some sexual scenes and descriptions of sexual acts just don't have any reason to be in the book but to make it more provocative. I also think that story is too dragged, too many details and many too much personal parts which are not interesting for average reader.
A bit disappointing...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Edward S. Ruete on April 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is Erica Jong at her best and worst. As I read it, I kept grabbing a pencil to fix obvious mistakes and editorial oversights, and in other places I despaired of ever fixing her klunky prose and clumsy expositions. For a poet, her prose is anything but lyrical.

Yet Erica cannot be beat for her sense of felt life, for her honest reflection on and accurate depiction of the human condition. More pages in my copy of _Parachutes and Kisses_ are underlined and dogeared for future reference than in my copy of _To The Lighthouse_ - and I was reading Virginia Woolf for a literature class where analysis was expected! Erica shows parts of herself - and parts of myself - to me in ways that no one else comes close to, in spite of the fact that she is hiding behind her doppelganger, Isadora Wing.

This subterfuge leads to some unavoidable confusion. Having read two books by Erica Jong about Isadora Wing (_Parachutes and Kisses_ and _Fear of Flying_) and one book ostensibly by Isadora Wing about a woman painter (_Any Woman's Blues_), it is hard to separate what Erica wrote from what Isadora is supposed to have written. At one point a character in _Parachutes_ accuses Isadora of having started "the whole thing" (the sexual revolution) with that chapter about the "Zipless ___." But Erica wrote that chapter in a book about Isadora - only by stretching our interpretation of the paralelism of their lives and careers can we arrive at the inference that one of Isadora's early books contained the same chapter.

Overall, this book met my litmus test for a good book. When it was finished and I put it on the shelf, carefully filed with the rest of my Erica Jong collection, I felt like I was saying "good bye" to a close friend: a friend with her own flaws and peccadilloes, but a friend I will treasure.
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