Passing by: Selected Essays 1962-1991

Jerzy N. Kosinski, Author
Jerzy N. Kosinski, Author Random House (NY) $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-41389-9
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-8021-3423-3
Hardcover - 978-0-517-13737-6
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According to his widow, Polish emigre novelist Kosinski had been working on this collection of essays, lectures and fragments when he committed suicide in Manhattan in 1991. While the selections would be improved by contextualizing introductions, they portray a man who was impassioned about literature and who saw his role as confronting ``life's threatening encounters.'' He finds inspiration, he writes, from an intertwining of the Polish, Hasidic and American literary traditions, and considers America ``the last society which still modifies itself freely.'' He rails against the ``collectivism'' nourished by television and radio, and criticizes North American Jews for memorializing the Holocaust but not Jewish achievements. Other essays touch on his experiences learning polo, acting in the film Reds , living in New York City and visiting Poland in the late 1980s. Most interesting are his discussions of the original ideas behind The Painted Bird and the structure of Steps. (Nov.)
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