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Calamities of Exile: Three Nonfiction Novellas

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  46 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
From the author of Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, Calamities of Exile combines three gripping narratives that afford a sort of double CAT scan into the natures of both modern totalitarianism and timeless exile.
Paperback, 211 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by University Of Chicago Press (first published May 23rd 1996)
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K
This book received a great deal of critical acclaim, and I suspect the problem is me. But I just couldn't get into it.

The topic is good -- three accounts of individuals resisting totalitarian regimes and ending up exiled from their native countries, with various permutations. But I think the writing style was a turnoff for me. I don't much care for the journalistic reportage style, with the fact-quote-fact-quote pattern.

I felt like the stories could have been far more gripping had they not been
...more
Matt
Jan 11, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Weschler continues to be a favorite.
Three challenging, thought-provoking stories of dissidents or semi-dissidents from oppressive regimes (Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Warsaw Pact-era Czechoslovakia, and apartheid South Africa).
All of them delved deeply into the maddening, disorienting world that people were trying to navigate -- the Czechoslovakia chapter on Kavan is like the world's most maddening maze full of illusions and half-truths and quarter-truths and dead ends where the actual facts of the
...more
Molly
Dec 10, 2007 Molly rated it it was amazing
Three profiles of individuals in exile from their countries. I've read this several times and loaned it out even more than that. A nuanced, literary, fascinating series.
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Lawrence Weschler, a graduate of Cowell College of the University of California at Santa Cruz (1974), was for over twenty years (1981-2002) a staff writer at The New Yorker, where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award (for Cultural Reporting in 1988 and Magazine Reporting in 1992) and was also a recipient of Lannan Lit ...more
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