Kathrina's Reviews > Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005

Kill All Your Darlings by Luc Sante
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's review
Feb 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: essays-interviews, nyrb-intro-authors
Read from February 10 to 26, 2011

It is possible even for a vehement reader to become jaded into a tell-me-a-story mentality while in the midst of reading a string of novels one after the other. We can forget the responsibilities of an active reader, to analyze, to connect, to derive opinions, and instead sit numbly as an audience member, applauding at the appropriate moments and waiting for the next act to carry us along.The beauty of a collection of essays, especially one written by a passionate author of varied interests, such as this one, is that it will awaken the reader to confront their own passions, stir up a response, and open doors to previously un-contemplated forms, ideas, people and attitudes.
We are lucky, as readers, to have Luc Sante, for just such a stirring-up. I was led to him due to his introduction to the NYRB edition of Novels in Three Lines, though I've long coveted a copy of Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, perched seductively in the sociology section of my bookstore. Sante has a predilection for studies in the small artifacts of American history, the small keyholes from which we can view a cultural trend. I regret not acknowledging in my review of Novels in Three Lines how much it reminded me of Wisconsin Death Trip, and was thus thrilled to see that Sante had also made the same connection, and wrote about it in his essay "The Department of Memory." I read most of this book with my laptop whirring furiously beside me, searching the Magritte paintings, the Evans photos, the Charley Patton recordings, keeping up with all the mixed media Sante so joyously explores. The joy is contagious, and has extended my interests from what I had previously connected to Sante's work to new realms in jazz and folk music, poetry and literature, painting and photographic arts, and the nature of "hip," both the '60's definition, and it's current manifestation. Sante is totally hip, as another goodreads member wrote, "the coolest guy you've never met." This book is a lesson in cool.
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Kathrina I wish this paperback had hyper-links.

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