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Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, deeply felt, July 10, 2006
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This review is from: The Afterlife: A Memoir (Hardcover)
Antrim writes the best sentences of any writer now working: balanced, complex, digressive, surprising, dynamic, seemingly self-supporting (that is, existing for their own beauty and born of a unique inspiration that you too would follow if you had his gift for expression), but, as you find when you read on, what you thought were grace notes or jokes or just unforgettable and sheer oddball observations are in fact keenly plotted essentials subtly woven into the plot of the book. The style can sound with grand resonance--his prose is haunted by rhythms of great prose stylists like Thomas de Quincey and writers like Henry Green with an ear for both casual and telling dialogue--but his eye is contemporary and in the darkest of family scenarios both deeply felt and comic. With his great powers of observation he can move through landscapes you couldn't have seen--Florida coastal towns in the seventies, Black Mountain North Carolina in the final years of the past century--and see it so keenly that you can be tricked into thinking you grew up there too: this too is a function of his style, which can arrest your attention at key moments, the way Scorsese can move the camera so you never forget the shot.

The material here is of the darkest you can venture through--the broken legacy of artisty and alcoholism--and Antrim doesn't shy from any of its most painful moments. But for all that, the book is achingly light and filled with love however undeceived --silk out of pain. Read this book. It's one of the few that will speak to the ages of our age.
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Location: CT

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