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Vermeer in Bosnia: Selected Writings Paperback – July 12, 2005


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Vermeer in Bosnia: Selected Writings + Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679777407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679777403
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A lush book. . . . Astonishing. . . . Weschler may be the finest writer in the United States.” –LA WeeklyA San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News Best Book of the YearA Bloomsbury Review Editors’ Favorite“There’s no writer alive with more raw and contagious enthusiasm for the world. . . . Ravishing and utterly life-emboldening.” –Dave Eggers“Miraculous. . . . Excellentric. . . . Electrically precise. . . . Endlessly nuanced. . . . Layered. Mischievous. Faceted. Fun. . . . Weschler inspires envy.” –The New York Observer“Startling. . . . Promiscuously eclectic. . . . Weschler is an impossibly wide-ranging writer [and] a master of the journalistic profile.” –Chicago Tribune“Lambent. . . . Vivid. . . . Filigreed and moving. . . . A gorgeous collection.” –San Francisco Chronicle“Lively and provocative. . . . Wonderfully illuminating. . . . A surprising smorgasbord of delights. . . . [Weschler is] an erudite, enthusiastic observer of life.” –Los Angeles Times“Absorbing. . . . Weschler . . . has an unbeatable eye–and heart and writerly panache–for human oddity and invention.” –Entertainment Weekly“Luminous. . . . Exquisite. . . . Weschler is a master of the short form. . . . [He] pokes around in odd corners but always finds great stories of human experience. . . . [He] finds the ‘edge’ and freezes it for us in finely-sharpened prose.” –The Oregonian“Weschler is a national treasure . . . that rare cultural commentator whose keenly off-center perspectives and interests bring new meaning to the idea of ‘the pleasure of the text.’ ” –The Bloomsbury Review“Like a postmodern Scheherazade . . . Weschler spins yarns about everything under the sun. . . . [He has] a keen eye for connecting the dots we mere mortals can’t, or won’t, see . . . and writes generous prose that allows the reader to share in the author’s serendipitous discoveries.” –Austin Chronicle“Weschler is a writer one wants to reads irrespective of what he is writing about. His marvelous essays are models of clarity of thought and subtlety of feeling–and vice-versa. Vermeer in Bosnia is nothing less than a sustained advertisement for the life of the mind.” –Geoff Dyer, author of Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It“A goldmine of excellent writing.” –Santa Cruz Sentinel“Brilliant. . . . Engrossing. . . . Compelling. . . . The essays . . . display a tremendous breadth and depth. . . . By simply connecting the dots, he creates a picture that others might not see. . . . Few readers can remain indifferent to Weschler’s work.” –St. Petersburg Times“The Urban piece alone, was, for me, worth the price of admission.” –David Byrne“Graceful and illuminating.” –The Globe and Mail (Toronto)“A writer of wide-ranging passions from the quirky to the crucial. . . . Weschler [is] a literary renaissance and reconnaissance man keen on collecting and connecting, effectively reconciling and interrelating apparent disparities and disjunctions.” –San Diego Union Tribune“From his sad sanity on Yugoslavia’s aftermath, to the most endearing argument for L.A. since the Beach Boys, Weschler gets around–though the holy-moly roadside attraction here is the author’s landmark brain.” –Sarah Vowell, author of Take the Cannoli“Inspiring. . . . With his densely textured consciousness, coupled with a curiosity that can only be called protean, [Weschler] may be the most civilized staff writer The New Yorker ever lost. . . . Most consistently winning of all is that echt capacity of the literate soul: the ability to juggle incongruities without twitching.” –The New York Observer“Rich. . . . Enchanting. . . . A smart melding of thought and feeling. . . . Weschler shows great mind-eye coordination. He sees and he thinks, and what he thinks is revelatory.” –Detroit Free Press “Off-the-charts, happy/sad feeling, dark in the winter brilliant in the springtime crazy book! Big Polish ears and shaky furniture, are you joy today? Suntory time.” –Mark Salzman, author of Lying Awake“Weschler [is] one of the best writers in the country. . . . To me [he] is like Ray Charles; he puts his own soulful stamp on anything that beckons him, and something moves me in almost everything he does. . . . What sets Weschler apart is the utterly fresh and unexpected connections he makes as he digs ever deeper into a subject.” –Pamela Feinsilber, San Francisco Magazine

About the Author

Lawrence Weschler is the author of more than ten books, including Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, which was shortlisted for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was a staff writer at The New Yorker for more than twenty years and is a regular contributor to McSweeney’s. Since 2001 he has been the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alan A. Elsner VINE VOICE on July 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
The essays in this collection were mostly magazine pieces published in the New Yorker or the Atlantic Monthly in the 1980s and 1990s. As such, the question must be asked: do they stand the test of time? Are they worth re-reading all these years later?
Sometimes they are. The first essay on the author's musings about Vermeer and his world juxtaposed against his coverage of the War Crimes Tribunal judging the atrocities in Bosnia is genuinely insightful. Weschler notes that Vermeer's world was as violent, or even more so, as the former Yugoslavia during its bloodletting. His art is an attempt to impose order on this brutal world and to uphold the dignity and importance of the individual.
Another essay about a scene in Shakespeare's Henry V which is usually cut from performance, in which the king orders the mass slaughter of French prisoners after the Battle of Agincourt is likewise compared to the massacre at Srenbrenica. It's a valuable insight.
However other essays seemed to me to have lost their relevance and sharpness. That should be no surprise after 15 or 20 years. Magazine writing is not intended for the ages. It often belongs to the time in which it was written. Thus an essay about Jerzy Urban, who was the spokesman for Solidarity in Poland during the 1981 crackdown and later reinvented himself as a much-raking editor, seemed far removed from the Poland of today. Additionally, though he provides (very) brief updates for some of his stories, Weschler doesn't do so in this case.
A piece about Roman Polanski seemed long and rather similar to other articles I'd read about the dramatic life and work of this director.
It takes a considerable ego to believe one's journalism is worth preserving for posterity between the covers of a hard-backed book.
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I read this 10 years ago, and had to find it and buy it to enjoy it again. The stories are all different, but all amazing
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By Frank on December 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fine work, insightful and well written. The lead essay is worth the price of the book. Weschler is one of the best.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By spoonfeeding on October 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
One of several books I buy for all my friends, and which they invariably love. It's an excellent collection of Weschler's work.
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