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The Company They Kept: Writers on Unforgettable Friendships

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3.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  46 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Now in paperback

Many of the illustrious contributors to The New York Review of Books have had deep and abiding relationships–both personal and intellectual–with other poets, writers, artists, composers, and scientists of equal stature. The Company They Kept is a collection of twenty-seven accounts of these varied friendships–most of them undeniably fraught with “idiosyncra
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Paperback, 316 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by New York Review Books
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Katya
Apr 14, 2015 Katya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don your togas, it's philosophy time!

I wonder, in my more pessimistic moments, if we've completely lost track of what it means to be friends. (If I feel particularly cynical, I'd say that in 10 years' time, children would ask us if that word means anything other than a social network connection.) We've been using the term until it's threadbare - to describe teammates, classmates, casual acquaintances, those people we call on Saturday night after way too many glasses of Bailey's to scratch that e
...more
Lee Kofman
Feb 18, 2015 Lee Kofman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this collection of essays from New York Review of Books, mostly obituaries, written by remarkable people about their similarly remarkable friends - writers, composers, scientists etc. This book really humbled me, showing me how much erudition I lack. This was good for me in the Socratic sense (I know that I know nothing...). I felt, while reading this collection, like I was bettering myself.
Tiffany
Aug 02, 2011 Tiffany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit, I had expected something different when I first discovered this book. I found that, without really knowing who the authors were describing, I was missing out on something. It almost seemed to me that if I wasn't previously aware of these artists, then I wasn't getting the full effect of the writing. It just didn't really hit my taste...
Abby
Jul 27, 2010 Abby marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This sounds terribly interesting and the cover is swell.
Richard
May 24, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are 27 entries with writers recounting their relationships with their friends, most of whom are writers, painters etc. many of who were unknown to me or about whom I knew relatively little until I received this volume: Joseph Brodsky/Isiah Berlin, Caroline Blackwood/Francis Bacon, Oliver Sacks/Francis Crick et al. One of the few connections I was aware of but didn't think it would qualify as a 'friendship' is the relationship between Larry McMurtry who writes a recollection of Ken Kesey wi ...more
Tuck
Nov 23, 2011 Tuck rated it really liked it
collection of essays taken from nyrb of tributes, reminiscences, friendships recalled, literature and poetry discussed. a wonderful introduction for the reader to heartfelt and insightful stories of many many great writers. most are about 8-10 pages. saul bellow points out how much cheever's writing changed over the years and how that is a good sign of a great writer. larry mcmurtry is the best story teller around the general store, and tells a hilarious tale of ken kesey and his group coming to ...more
Michelle
Jul 01, 2007 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
This smart, quirky collection of essays gathered from the New York Review of Books is compulsively readable. Intimately written, the essays capture the mundane and profound moments in the interaction between writers and those who inspired them. The table of contents reads like a Who’s Who of the best in their fields: Derek Walcott, Susan Sontag, Albert Einstein, Seamus Heaney, Gertrude Stein, Octavio Paz, Anna Akhmatova, Isaiah Berlin… the list goes on. Yet, it isn’t just the titillation of read ...more
Linda
Jun 06, 2011 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a banquet of sobriquets, quotable quotations, exquisite writing and quintessenetial rememberances! Only 298 pages, this book of short memoirs by illustrious, accomplishers about their peers in art, music, literature and science is divine. People I had not really heard of are written about with such wit and admiration that I had to make a list of things to read. None of the pieces fawn or display scyophancy. Many of the of these writers/writen-about intertwine as mentors, wives, husbands, lo ...more
Shonna Froebel
This was an interesting collection of writings on special friendships brought together in one volume. Many were published previously or given as talks at memorials. I found the range of writing interesting and the types of relationships varied. Some of the writers were more admirers than close friends, while other friendships had interruptions. The stories give new viewpoints to those written about as well as about the writers. An interesting idea, well-executed.
Devon Sparks
a little slow although some really interesting stories about people with all kinds of varied and different back rounds. Some loud, some quite but all made an impact in their own way in life. I keep it by my bedside table because sometimes its nice to flip through and read a short story or two. Reminds me that life isn't ALWAYS about the bigger picture EVERYDAY...even though I want it to be :)
Kristen
Jul 29, 2007 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goodnonfiction
A great book that features short essays from famous authors about their closest writer friends. Helpful stories about writing habits, failures and intellectual support. Some stories were a bit dry and I skipped a couple. But the ones that were good were very good.
Ellen
I realize by putting this on here I am ruining my chances of gifting it in the future because most of the people I would give it to are on Goodreads already. Oh well, pretend to be surprised!
Charlotte
The only thing I found of interest here was the piece on Djuna Barnes. The Stein one told nothing new for me.
Natasha
May 15, 2013 Natasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
My favourite book cover ever. Enthralling, beautifully written essays by writers. This book is a treat.
Katie
Jul 05, 2011 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ehh. Wasn't impressed with this book.
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