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Life with Swan

Life with Swan by Paul West, ISBN: 9780684848648
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ISBN: 9780684848648
Publisher: Prentice Hall & IBD
Published: 22 February, 1999
Format: Hardcover

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Life with Swan

Paul West is a writer so in love with the sound of his own voice that sometimes he loses track of what he's trying to say. Take, for example, the opening sentence of Life with Swan, a fictionalized account of his courtship of and marriage to Diane Ackerman--Ariada Mencken in the novel: A puberty ago, I watched from my office window one afternoon as she descended into baking sunlight on the library steps in a Spanish-looking straw hat (Eton boating style), drape-swinging her legs in polychrome-striped bell-bottoms, behind her the terminal moraine of black hair that set her out from the crowd since she was ten. Readers who get through this description unscathed will soon find themselves up against shuddering orgasms, neuter rhapsodies, and "a stained-glass window arranged on a dangling penis," to name just a few more metaphors contained within the same paragraph. And so it goes for 300 pages. But there is a story lurking beneath all this verbiage. West chronicles his quarter-century relationship with his wife, beginning with their first meeting when "Ariada" is his student in a 20th-century British fiction class and continuing through their friendship with astronomer Carl Sagan--here disguised as Raoul Bunsen. Love, belles lettres, and the stars afford West plenty of scope for his wild flights of lyricism and even wilder forays into introspection. Life with Swan may well appeal to readers who enjoy free-flying prose; fo

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