- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Tin House Books; 1 edition (November 11, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1935639870
- ISBN-13: 978-1935639879
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Loitering: New and Collected Essays Paperback – Deckle Edge, November 11, 2014
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*Loitering makes NPR's 2014 Best of the Year list
*Time Out New York names Loitering one of the Top Ten Books of the Year
*Loitering makes the Pacific Northwest Bestseller List
*Loitering shortlisted for the PNBA awards
- Phillip Lopate, New York Times Book Review
“... Powerful... highlights D’Ambrosio’s ability to mine his personal history for painful truths about the frailty of family and the strange quest to understand oneself, and in turn, be understood.”
- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Erudite essays that plumb the hearts of many contemporary darknesses.”
“Important . . . one of the most profound essayists at work today.”
“Loitering: New and Collected Essays should help position D’Ambrosio as one of the major essayists now working in the genre.”
- Los Angeles Review of Books
“[D'Ambrosio's] toolkit, finite and familiar, is the English language, the same one ticker-taping through your conscious mind and mine, but with it he constructs sentences, paragraphs, entire pages of such sustained insight and fluency that you can’t help but feel a little fraudulent as a fellow user of the same mother tongue.”
- The L Magazine
“Loitering seems at heart an act of remembrance, a collection that grapples with the past in order to bring it to us still warm and pulsating. The brutality of D’Ambrosio’s nostalgia saves it from romanticism and instead transforms it into a deeply physical experience.”
- The Carolina Quarterly
“Loitering, by Charles D’Ambrosio, gets something deeply right about being uncertain, being in-between, being human. Its essays refuse the violence of imposing too much resolution on the world. This praise might sound abstract, but it’s more like a kind of closed-eye, clenched-fist gratitude: Thank you. These essays help me believe in what’s holy in the mess.”
- Leslie Jamison, New York Times
“D'Ambrosio hasn't published anything less than brilliant, but Loitering is remarkable even by his standards.”
- Portland Mercury
“Throughout the collection, D'Ambrosio's words conjure metaphorical 'thought light bulbs' in the reader's mind as he strikes feelings deep within ― about TV news reporters, whale conservation and the magic of trains ― all eloquently described in his rich, affecting prose.”
- The Inlander
About the Author
Charles D’Ambrosio is the author of two collections of short stories, The Point and The Dead Fish Museum, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the essay collection Orphans. He’s been the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award and a Lannan Fellowship, among other honors. His work has appeared frequently in The New Yorker, as well as in Tin House, The Paris Review, Zoetrope All-Story, and A Public Space. He teaches fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Top customer reviews
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One principal aspect or recurring theme of the book concerns D'Ambrosio's family: his grandfather, a Chicago bookie with connections to the mob; his father, a teacher of business finance, who gradually slipped the traces, gave all his money to the Catholic church, and died alone in a boarding house; his brother Danny, who committed suicide; and his other brother Mike, who cracked up his body badly when he (unsuccessfully) tried to kill himself by jumping off the Aurora Bridge in Seattle. The other prominent aspect of the book is captured by the word "loitering": D'Ambrosio on the periphery of events or situations observing and trying to make some sense of them. Life is messy and uncertain. What seems to most annoy D'Ambrosio are those who reduce it to certitudes and platitudes. In "By Way of a Preface" he writes, "What I've collected here, of course, are just a bunch of scrappy incondite essays, * * * but behind each piece, animating every attempt, is the echo of a precarious faith, that we are more intimately bound to one another by our kindred doubts than our brave conclusions."
Two of the essays -- "Loitering" and "Whaling Out West" -- are superb. (Only one piece was a clinker.) "Loitering" is an account of a SWAT team standoff in Seattle, where D'Ambrosio is an amateur reporter amidst all the vacuous pros. ("Another TV guy is practicing a look of grave concern in his monitor, a look that, live at least, seems woefully constipated.") In "Whaling Out West" D'Ambrosio reflects on the Pacific Northwest cause célèbre occasioned by the efforts of the "save the whale" environmentalists to stop the Makah Indians' annual ritual whale kill. ("Eco-Elements on First Ave. downtown has been instrumental in gathering signatures for a petition against the Makah, and it's one of those New Age emporiums with a syncretic, boutiquey approach to spirituality, a sort of travel agency specializing in tourism for the soul, emphasizing past lives, future lives, every kind of life but the really incompliant and unruly present * * *.") The subjects of other essays include a Russian orphanage, J.D. Salinger, Mary Kay Letourneau, and Richard Brautigan.
D'Ambrosio's prose is intelligent, yet relaxed and informal. (It surely entailed considerable craftsmanship and polishing, but like all good prose there are no residual traces of that polishing.) There are numerous keen observations and perhaps even more striking apothegms. There is plenty of dark humor. Rounding out the package, the book itself, as published by Tin House Books, is well-made and attractive, with deckled edges, a handsome typeface, and a reader-friendly layout.
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Yes I have a soft spot for things that mention the Pacific Northwest but the breadth of topics covered from...Read more