John Leonard, âthe fastest wit in the Eastâ (The New York Times Book Review), is back with the offbeat, wide-ranging style that earned his last book, When the Kissing Had to Stop, a place among the Voice Literary Supplementâs â25 Favorites of 1999.â Now, with an eye to the social and political experience of writers, Leonard adopts a broad definition of exile.
He addresses Robert Putnamâs Bowling Alone, where exile manifests itself in solitary bowling, a reflection of a declining sense of community. He considers Salman Rushdie as rockânâroll Orpheus, whoâafter ten years in fatwa-enforced exileâbears a striking resemblance to his continually disappearing characters. And Leonard also explores Primo Leviâs exile of survival, Bruce Chatwinâs self-imposed exile in travel, as well as the work of Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Phillip Roth, Barbara Kingsolver, and Don DeLillo, among others.
As always, Leonardâs writing jumps off the page, engaging the reader in what the Washington Post calls his âlaugh-out-loud magic with words.â
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