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Asa, as I Knew Him

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  206 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Dinah Sachs and Asa Thayer have had a love affair, conducted in afternoons stolen from the office of the magazine where they work. But now that the affair is over, Dinah, in an act of lingering passion, invents a narrative of Asa’s youth, imagining the events that shaped the “happy, handsome man” who, in her words, “was born to stomp on my heart.”

Witty and sexy, funny and
Paperback, 159 pages
Published June 1994 by Vintage Contemporaries (first published 1987)
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Jul 03, 2016 Giedre rated it liked it

Writing this is my last effort at transubstantiation. From his long, pale limbs I will make, by words, the body and blood of a human. If I fail, it can’t be done.

Asa and Dinah's affair is over. Yet Dinah is still obsessed with her former lover's "soullessness". Kaysen's Asa, as I Knew Him is not a love story, though the affair does set the scene. It's a book within a book. It is Dinah's last attempt to give Asa a soul. To do this Dinah writes about teenage Asa—an incident in his youth, half
An interesting book that sidesteps the usual pitfalls of the 'doomed love affair' story by simply not telling it at all. What we get instead is much more interesting.

Dinah and Asa's affair is over. Dinah is a Jewish woman raised by not-particularly-religious parents and Asa is a pedigreed Boston WASP , handsome and charming and soulless. It was part of Dinah's obsession that she find Asa's inner-quality, his dormant spirit and bring it out into the open. But she failed. The bulk of this book is
Jul 08, 2014 Braeden rated it liked it
I think I found this at a garage sale a long time ago for a quarter. I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked it except for the long backstory of Asa's life. Clever, yes, but it just didn't work for me. The love story and crumbling of the relationship is so good, I would have rather read that for the full 150 pages. If you are tired of the same old same old books, read this.
Abby Rosmarin
Apr 01, 2012 Abby Rosmarin rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I have to admit: if it weren't for Girl, Interrupted, I would've never picked this up. But I'm glad I did. It's a very nontraditional and unorthodox book -- a breath of fresh air after all the formulaic novels. And Kaysen writes absolutely beautifully. There were some paragraphs that I just had to copy down because I loved them so much.
Evelyn Waugh
Jul 22, 2016 Evelyn Waugh rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 17, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it
A less well known book by the author of Girl Interrupted
Worth your time
May 27, 2007 Doug rated it it was ok
Feb 13, 2009 SmarterLilac rated it it was amazing
Now this one, I love. It's terse, but somehow still dreamy. A beautiful work on memory and obsession.
Mar 16, 2012 Marie rated it liked it
I really enjoy anything by this author. The language she uses keeps you compelled long after you've put down the book.
Samantha Hansen
Aug 08, 2011 Samantha Hansen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
Susan Oleksiw
Feb 22, 2012 Susan Oleksiw rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Kaysen's language is precise and spare, and though her story is not suspenseful or riveting, it holds the imagination. She carries the reader along in a gentle tale.
Lori Anne Parker-Danley
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Susanna Kaysen is an American author.

Kaysen was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kaysen attended high school at the Commonwealth School in Boston and the Cambridge School before being sent to McLean Hospital in 1967 to undergo psychiatric treatment for depression. It was there she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She was released after eighteen months. She later drew
More about Susanna Kaysen...

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“Asa had a sharp understanding of the future--that is, a time when this would be past. Time was rushing through and around him, he almost heard it whistling, and this awareness rounded the world somehow and made it sweet.” 7 likes
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