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Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative Hardcover – October 4, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


Praise for Uncanny Valley

"Former New Yorker staff writer Weschler (The Passion of Poland) gathers the finest fruits of the last 15 years in this delectable collection. The title piece, a metaphysical twist on digital animation, discusses reality and trickery with the arbiters of "algorithmic" expressions and deftly reinforces the importance of strong narrative in order to captivate "our ensouled and incarnate natures." Weschler's intense allusions are rarely straightforward, as in "Three Improbable Yarns," a marvelous mesh of Jewish identity, human rights, and past work in the Balkans. An avant-garde Berlin showcase of his grandfather Ernst Toch's best concerto flows into a discourse on life and death, then inspires a sublime comparative essay of Milosz's "In Rome" and Szymborska's "Reality Demands," with Weschler in his element and the reader under his spell. His regard for visual and performance art proves mesmerizing in an initially unnerving account of the Danish Billedstofteater that morphs into a serene inference to the "current crisis of vision." Though rambunctious satire sends some adventures off in new directions, Weschler provides elegant and worthwhile conclusions. —Publishers Weekly (starred)

About the Author

Lawrence Weschler is Director Emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. A former staff writer at The New Yorker, he is the author of over fifteen books, include the Pulitzer-nominated Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder and Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences, winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. He is a contributing editor at Threepenny Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and McSweeneys.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582437572
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582437576
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,440,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lawrence Weschler's new collection of non-fiction pieces, subtitled "Adventures in the Narrative," delivers one fascinating adventure after another. These have many flavors, because his set of subjects is quite broad, from human rights campaigners in Rwanda and elsewhere (Monique Mujawamiriya, ICC founder Philippe Kirsch) to filmmakers (Walter Murch, Bill Morrison, Sharon Lockhart), to visual artists (Richard Serra, Donald Judd, Vincent Desiderio, the astonishing Oakes Twins, who've conceived of an entirely new way of considering visual perspective), to writers working in various genres (Mark Salzman, Dario Fo, and others). Despite this breadth, "Uncanny Valley" is united by Weschler's prose style, which always seems to be inviting his readers into a genial, effortless little conspiracy -- just a quiet little chat between friends. Notwithstanding his sometimes weighty subjects, his serious artists and heavy issues, the writing here (and in all his work) has an enviably conversational, raconteurish, humorous quality. Weschler seems to be saying: "Let me tell you a little something, just a story that we don't need to take too seriously, or freight with too much weight, but that's well worth telling just the same. Relax, I'll do all the work, and I promise I won't waste your time." And then ultimately we realize, having read this work, not only that he didn't waste our time, but that we must take it very seriously indeed, and give it a lot of weight, because it's very serious, and it possesses a great deal of consequence. In this, Weschler is a virtuosic conjuror of the highest order, and yet he's also something extremely rare: a conjuror, and by this I of course mean artist, working in the realm of non-fiction.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Ren Weschler is one of the most prolific and generous writers in America today and in this new book he proves again that a deep poetic soul can - and perhaps must- be allied with a social conscience. The Uncanny Valley is perhaps the finest of his anthologies to date - which is saying a Lot. Weschler is the author of two uncannily great monographs "Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonders" and "Boggs: A Comedy of Values". Few authors can weave so gracefully from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the awe-inspiringly beautiful to the heart-breakingly horrifying. Be prepared for a thrilling ride - one that will make your heart race, and hopefully propel it into action. If only we all could be as tireless as Mr Weschler the world would be a better and more beautiful place.
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Format: Hardcover
Weschler is a virtuoso stylist, whose books are always a mystery trip across fascinating human terrain, and crackling with unexpected imagery. "Nonfiction magical realism" (his term) perfectly captures it. Here he travels from one human saga to another, an Autoloycus of the highest order, snapping up some of life's unconsidered trifles, momentous feats, and glaring acts of conscience (or lack of it) that come to haunt and define us-- all in his uncanny brand of humor and conscience. What a delicious and thought-provoking book!
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By ann f on January 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a gift. Giftee seemed very happy with it. I haven't read it yet but will when I finish with my book presents-and get it on loan from giftee.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really do not like this book. You get the idea within 5 pages then don't really want to read more.
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