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The Ghosts of Birds
by Eliot Weinberger


Overview - The Ghosts of Birds offers thirty-five essays by Eliot Weinberger: the first section of the book continues his linked serial-essay, An Elemental Thing , which pulls the reader into "a vortex for the entire universe" ( Boston Review ).  Read more...

 
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More About The Ghosts of Birds by Eliot Weinberger
 
 
 
Overview
The Ghosts of Birds offers thirty-five essays by Eliot Weinberger: the first section of the book continues his linked serial-essay, An Elemental Thing, which pulls the reader into "a vortex for the entire universe" (Boston Review). Here, Weinberger chronicles a nineteenth-century journey down the Colorado River, records the dreams of people named Chang, and shares other factually verifiable discoveries that seem too fabulous to possibly be true. The second section collects Weinberger's essays on a wide range of subjects--some of which have been published in Harper's, New York Review of Books, and London Review of Books--including his notorious review of George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points and writings about Mongolian art and poetry, different versions of the Buddha, American Indophilia ("There is a line, however jagged, from pseudo-Hinduism to Malcolm X"), Bela Balazs, Herbert Read, and Charles Reznikoff. This collection proves once again that Weinberger is "one of the bravest and sharpest minds in the United States" (Javier Marias).

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780811226189
  • ISBN-10: 0811226182
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publish Date: October 2016
  • Page Count: 240


Related Categories

Books > Literary Collections > Essays
Books > Literary Criticism > Poetry
Books > Social Science > Anthropology - Cultural & Social

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-07-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

This slim volume from Weinberger (The Walls, the City, and the World), a prodigious translator, editor, and author, provides abundant rewards for readers in essays that are short, dense, and rich with meanings and ideas. The selections display an aesthetic of distilled prose and a fascination with poking at the seams between reportage, fiction, and poetry. The book is separated into halves, the first of which is a sort of addendum to Weinberger’s haunting, meditative 2007 An Elemental Thing. In these new pieces, Weinberger discusses history, nature, and mythology—among other things—and interrogates the traditional form and function of the essay. He opens with a chapter dissecting the story of Adam and Eve, and from there casts a wide net over topics including dreams, American mythologies, and a cultural taxonomy of stones. The second section of the book contains more traditional essays, some looking at particular works, and several in the more experimental vein of the first half. Of particular note are his essay on indigenous Mexican poetry and his notorious 2010 review of George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points, entitled “Bush the Postmodernist.” The latter is a withering piece of prose that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and horrifying, as acute a look at the 21st-century American condition as any produced to date. (Oct.)

 
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