The Price of Illusion: A Memoir

Joan Juliet Buck. Atria, $30 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4767-6294-4
From the very beginning of this lapidary memoir, Buck (The Only Place to Be) is immersed in illusion. Her father, Jules Buck, was a cinematographer for John Huston before founding Keep Films with Peter O’Toole. Joan inherited her father’s eye for props, but while he used them to create feeling, she read feeling into them. Her elegant descriptions are glued together with a mortar of famous names (Jeanne Moreau, Lauren Bacall, Anjelica Huston). None of her youthful flirtations (Tom Wolfe) and more-than-flirtations (Donald Sutherland) lasted: “I couldn’t read humans as easily as I could read the meaning of their clothes.” In 1994, she became editor of French Vogue and spiraled into a psychedelic head trip of beautiful objects set against her gathering anxiety and her father’s mental illness. She was let go in 2001 after a stint in rehab, not for chemical dependency but for what she sees as an addiction to the “glossy view of life.” She relapsed with a puff piece for American Vogue on Bashar al-Assad’s wife. For the most part, she shies away from self-analysis: her divorce from John Heilpern, a onetime contributing editor to Vanity Fair, is dismissed with a terse “I’d tried to have a normal life, and failed.” Yet overall, Buck includes a brilliant amount of detail in this memoir. Agent: Andy McNicol, WME. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2016
Release date: 03/07/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4767-6296-8
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-4767-6295-1
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