Lost Property: Memoirs & Confessions of a Bad Boy

Ben Sonnenberg, Author Summit Books $18.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-70188-8
For much of his life, Sonnenberg, born in 1936, founder of the literary magazine Grand Street and son of one of the best-known public relations men in America, pursued ``fastidious disengagement''--``Reading books, buying art, writing unproduced plays, seducing women.'' His memoir originates in Sonnenberg's father's home at 19 Gramercy Park, a grand private residence in Manhattan. It is his family's ``showy, extravagant'' ways that Sonnenberg tries to transcend, finding that his liberation cannot begin until his parents die. Only after the house is sold in 1980 and his parents' estates settled does he begin work on Grand Street , which makes him ``happy, content and . . . proud.'' Also impelling change in his life is multiple sclerosis, which struck Sonnenberg at age 34, and his later marriage to his third wife. This is a dizzying yet quiet book. In some respects, Sonnenberg follows in the tradition of his favorite Continental autobiographers--Nabokov, Baudelaire, Stendhal--and presents a view of an artist's reactions to a kaleidoscopic world. But he also tells a fully American tale of will--how one tries to escape inherited surroundings and prove oneself through love and work. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Paperback - 268 pages - 978-1-58243-045-4
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