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Body Paperback – May 30, 2000
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
The skilled anthologist team of Fiffer and Fiffer covers the essentials. They began with Home (1995), moved to Family (1996), and now focus on the body. The essays and memoirs gathered here are expectedly personal and yet unexpectedly and quite wonderfully expansive. Francine Prose cannot write of the nose without considering famous literary organs, such as Gogol's rogue schnozzle or the mighty proboscis of Cyrano de Bergerac. Rosario Ferrewrites with earthy candor about the butt, and Veronica Chambers reports on life lived in dreadlocks. Lynda Barry offers a startling tale about her cousin's lousy teeth and his curiosity about the teeth of Jesus. Esmeralda Santiago tells the story of her scars, Mona Simpson praises hands, Richard McCann writes about his liver transplant, and Thomas Lynch considers the womb, pregnancy, and the father's perspective on the question of choice and abortion rights. Thylias Moss, Chris Offutt, and Kyoto Mori also contribute fresh and magnetic musings to this provocative and top-tier anthology about the body as experienced from within and seen from without. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Let us now celebrate body parts, in this collection of generally fine essays from talented writers. Some of the 18 authors, like Jane Smiley, Mona Simpson, and Esmeralda Santiago, have contributed to the Fiffers' earlier collections (Home, 1995; Family, 1996). Here both writers and editors seem to be hitting their stride with this format, with commentaries diverse in both tone and subject. Eyes, brain, hair, nose, teeth, scar tissueliterally head to toeare themes of the individual sketches that the Fiffers have coaxed into this anthology. Smiley delights in her belly, whether flat or protruding with child; cartoonist Lynda Barry believes teeth are the music [of] the face.'' There is a challenging reflection on death, rebirth, and transformation from Richard McCann, who received a liver transplant (how would Lazarus, raised from the dead, be feeling?, he wonders). Thomas Lynch takes on the womb, beginning with his Roman Catholic rosaries (``blessed is the fruit of thy womb''), although he gets it seriously wrong in equating the Immaculate Conception with the Virgin Birth. Lynch does raise the question of whether men should have a choice in acknowledging paternity, as women have the choice of terminating pregnancy. Ron Carlson offers nothing new in his reflections on the penis, but Kyoko Mori runs engagingly along on the subject of her feet. Editor Sharon Fiffer discusses how she has mentally peopled the chambers of her heart with those she loves and despises (it got so crowded, she added a few rooms), and Rosario Ferr joyously celebrates ``The Butt'' both for its sexuality and its role as purifier of inner waste. Overall a winsome compendium, suitable for bedside or seaside, where body parts can be contemplated in their (relative) nakedness. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.