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Awake: Stories of Life-Changing Epiphanies Paperback – May 10, 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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From Library Journal

Compiled by Dyja (Play for a Kingdom), a series editor for Illumina Books, the fiction and nonfiction selections in this anthology of "epiphanies" deftly capture many varieties of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual unfolding. Anne Lamott's excerpt from Traveling Mercies chronicles a descent into an alcohol- and drug-induced hell, while Henry James's classic novella Beast in the Jungle uses spare language to recount a man's painful realization that he has spent decades awaiting a seismic life event that has in fact come and gone. Elsewhere, a Flannery O'Connor protagonist evolves from sharp-tongued hypocrite into a bizarre Southern vision of racial and social unity. Also included are excerpts from Joyce's Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man and Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Every now and then a truly useful anthology appears, and this is one; readers are sure to find both solace and good-natured humor among the many viewpoints represented. Susan A. Zappia, Paradise Valley Community Coll., Phoenix, AZ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Kristen Couse is an editor at Balliett & Fitzgerald. She lives in New York City
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Product Details

  • Series: Illumina Books
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Marlowe & Company (May 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569245835
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569245835
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,253,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a nice collection. Don't be fooled (or discouraged) by the packaging, which tries to market these short pieces as "therapy and inspirational self-help". That makes them sound like New Age fluff. They're actually well-selected extracts and complete stories from some of literature's best writers. What they share is a moment in which the protagonist or the writer suddenly understands something significant - either about themselves, about life, or about the nature of reality. Commendably, editor Thomas Dyja doesn't skew his selection towards religion or to one particular philosophy, but rather gives us as broad a range of epiphanies as he does writing styles. There are some nice juxtapositions: none better than putting Henry James' dense yet rewarding "The Beast in the Jungle" up against a delightfully fresh extract from Jean Shepherd's "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash". What his selections show, time and again, is one of the great virtues of literature: the way it speaks up for what is hidden, for what we might otherwise have missed. It whispers through the fissures of the world.
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