Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Asa, as I Knew Him” as Want to Read:
Asa, as I Knew Him
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Asa, as I Knew Him

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  218 Ratings  ·  13 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
ebook, 176 pages
Published May 12th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1987)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Asa, as I Knew Him, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Asa, as I Knew Him

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alexia Polasky
2.5 stars, actually. I have yet to read Girl, Interrupted -one of my favorite movies- but now I can’t wait to get to it, because I thoroughly enjoyed Kaysen’s writing, though the story in itself not so much.
It is an OK read, but it’s not a book I’ll be particularly recommending.
Evelyn Waugh
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A less well known book by the author of Girl Interrupted
Worth your time
May 27, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now this one, I love. It's terse, but somehow still dreamy. A beautiful work on memory and obsession.
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Susan Oleksiw
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
rated it it was amazing
Dec 26, 2014
rated it liked it
Dec 27, 2009
Tara mcclain
rated it really liked it
Dec 09, 2007
Azure Hall
rated it really liked it
Aug 18, 2017
Laura Darroch-Lassey
rated it it was amazing
Dec 28, 2012
rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2008
Amy R
rated it really liked it
May 18, 2009
rated it really liked it
Jul 05, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Apr 26, 2008
rated it liked it
Feb 10, 2008
rated it liked it
Nov 18, 2015
Cynthia Lewis
rated it it was ok
Jun 25, 2017
rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2007
Tiffany Caudill
rated it it was ok
Jun 13, 2012
Nafees Ahmad
rated it it was amazing
Mar 09, 2016
rated it liked it
Aug 20, 2014
rated it really liked it
Oct 23, 2012
Lynette Thompson
rated it it was ok
Sep 06, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Shape of the Final Dog
  • The Shelter
  • Now and Then
  • Merlin's Mirror
  • The Ultimate Good Luck
  • Shedding Skin: Two Tales of Horror and Identity
  • Indigo
  • Punktown
  • The Morels
  • The Slayer's Apprentice
  • Rubicon Beach
  • Pao
  • Emmanuelle
  • Ribofunk
  • The Dead School
  • What Came After
  • Fireworks
  • Aliens: Original Sin
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

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • A Garden of Earthly Delights (Wonderland Quartet, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
    $16.99 $1.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Loser
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Map and the Territory
    $8.99 $2.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Father's Day
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts (Sacketts, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Man Who Could Be King
    $4.99 $1.99
  • This Is Where It Ends
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Sugar Queen
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Birth House
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Open City
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Out of Sorts
    $5.99 $0.99
  • The Hearts of Men: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Revolutionary Road
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Blessings
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Choke
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Bachelor Girl
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Wednesday Sisters
    $11.99 $1.99
“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
“My friends have hated Asa, first for monopolizing my mind, then for the endless discussions of him they were subjected to, finally, for making me unhappy.” 0 likes
More quotes…