Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays

Joseph Epstein. Axios, $24 (500p) ISBN 978-1-60419-100-4
The 143 essays in Epstein's entertaining new collection (after A Literary Education) are compulsively readable. Written between 1996 and 2015, primarily for the "Casual" section of the Weekly Standard, most run to fewer than 1000 words, develop their themes in under a dozen succinct paragraphs, and frequently conclude with epigrammatic witticisms. Epstein shows himself capable of writing engagingly at that brief length on just about any topic that strikes his fancy: parents instructing children about the facts of life, aging memory, coining neologisms, movie palaces of yore, the traditional hot dog as an endangered species, adult education classes, shoe shines, the Seven Deadly Sins and the Enlivening Vices. He even expresses his opinion about having no opinion, in an essay entitled (not surprisingly) "No Opinion." A significant number of essays target language and writing, and these yield some of his most trenchant insights: "Style in prose is intelligence perfectly formulated," he remarks in "Mr. Epstein Regrets." The essays are peppered with personal memories and quotes from literature and punctuated with bursts of humor—Epstein likens a bandleader's bellow to that "of a man who has just been pushed off a cliff"—and they abound with pleasures that belie their brevity. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Open Ebook - 500 pages - 978-1-60419-101-1
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