Loitering : New and Collected Essays
Overview - Charles D'Ambrosio's essay collection Orphans spawned something of a cult following. In the decade since the tiny limited-edition volume sold out its print run, its devotees have pressed it upon their friends, students, and colleagues, only to find themselves begging for their copy's safe return. Read more...
More About Loitering by Charles D'Ambrosio
Charles D'Ambrosio's essay collection Orphans spawned something of a cult following. In the decade since the tiny limited-edition volume sold out its print run, its devotees have pressed it upon their friends, students, and colleagues, only to find themselves begging for their copy's safe return. For anyone familiar with D'Ambrosio's writing, this enthusiasm should come as no surprise. His work is exacting and emotionally generous, often as funny as it is devastating. Loitering gathers those eleven original essays with new and previously uncollected work, so that a broader audience might discover one of our great living essayists. No matter his subject--Native American whaling, a Pentecostal "hell house," Mary Kay Letourneau, the work of J.D. Salinger, or, most often, his own family--D'Ambrosio approaches each piece with a singular voice and point of view; each essay, while unique and surprising, is unmistakably his own.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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This powerful collection (11 essays from Ophans, plus new and uncollected work) 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. In his strongest essays, including an account of a trip to a Russian orphanage, a reminiscence of hopping freight trains, and wrenching family stories, he avoids pathos and uses telling detail to get at some larger truths. In an essay on J.D. Salinger’s short stories, D’Ambrosio (also known for his fiction) writes about the suicide of his youngest brother. In a Russian orphanage, he talks with children who will have a hard road ahead, and conveys that he, too, is making his way in a world full of holes, gaps, and scars. In his graceful essay on poet Richard Hugo’s “Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg,” he observes that in a life that’s been broken “we know these things happen, and we don’t… know why.” Without an easy solution, he observes that “answers are as foolish and transient as we are” and challenges writers and readers to “approach the unanswerable,” which he himself does here, to great effect. Agent: Mary Evans, Mary Evans Inc. (Nov.)