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4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  30 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Paul Zweig grew up in Brooklyn, but left New York to explore Paris in the 1950s. After a decade in France, he returned to America and became a respected, well-known man of letters, who, at the age of forty-three, discovered he had cancer. This brilliant memoir tells of his passionate life and his dignified response to the approach of his death.
Paperback, 219 pages
Published February 2nd 1988 by Penguin Books
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Dana DesJardins
Feb 22, 2012 Dana DesJardins rated it liked it
Adam Gopnik, the god of my idolatry, wrote a foreword to this book. now out of print, so I picked it up. The opening section, while written with the lyricism that apparently characterized Zweig's poetry, it focuses on his predominantly sex life. Actually, it focuses on his sex life in Paris, so that made it engaging, but he is far to self-effacing about interesting episodes like sailing over to France without speaking a word of French and living on his own for a year, or what exactly he did for ...more
Apr 20, 2015 Breean rated it really liked it
Loved the writing- many quotable passages. Reminded me of The Mandarins.
Jun 11, 2010 Kevin rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning memoir from an author that puts in your hands a view of the world that is both humbling and enriching. There are many pivotal scenes: one that resonates even now, weeks later is when he is mistaken for an Arab by the French Police - this in the late 50's, we think the conflict with Muslims as being a post 911 problem - Zweig shows us how real it was then .There are many references to classic thinkers that made me feel quite ignorant but in the end we can all benefit from a man ...more
I haven't read this memoir in a long, long time, but it has stayed with me. The book is divided into three sections, each of which recounts a critical departure/transition in the poet Paul Zweig's life. Zweig was dying as he wrote this memoir, so the last section explores the imminence and meaning of his final departure. Absolutely beautiful.

Here is a link to an article about Zweig:

The Book : An Online Review at The New Republic
IT MAY BE that a man is best defined by what he first forgets,” writes Paul Zweig in Departures. “That he is sculpted by what he forgets, not by what he remembers. If recollection forms his visible identity, the bones are of oblivion.” Since his death in 1984... Read More...
Barry Levy
Aug 20, 2012 Barry Levy rated it really liked it
A beautifully written, evocative and ultimately very moving series of essays about Zweig's love affair with France, living there as an expatriate Jew from Brighton Beach who is forced to face his own mortality.
Jan 16, 2008 W.B. rated it it was amazing
This one was really rending to read. He writes so beautifully as he is disappearing from this planet. I like some of the poetry I've seen by him quite a bit, but I don't know him well at all as a poet.
Feb 14, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it
Very nice prose, a good read despite excessive descriptions of sexual acts and body parts!
Jun 18, 2009 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking. Are books being written this well today? I don't think so. Stunned.
Jun 19, 2009 Dorotea rated it it was amazing
Wow... Paul writes so elegantly about the pains and joys of being human.
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