What's This Cat's Story?: The Best of Seymour Krim

Seymour Krim, Author, Peggy Brooks, Editor, James Wolcott, Foreword by Paragon House Publishers $21.95 (194p) ISBN 978-1-55778-470-4
In this collection's title essay, the author lays himself on the line: ``I wanted to swallow the entire fucking world and spit it out again not merely as an artist but as some kind of literary-human-intellectual God.'' Krim--the freewheeling culture chronicler of the pre- to post-beat generations, who died in 1989--failed to realize his dream, but this autobiographical (``mirror riveted'') work proves that the egotistical witster had the goods to pull it off. Failure is a constant theme in these 17 mostly hip-lit-crit essays--which appeared in various publications during the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s. Some are pretentious, while others, such as his pieces on Jack Kerouac and the New Yorker , make one mourn his demise. A self-described ``potential novelist'' resigned to reviewing others' fiction because he was too hung up to write his own, Krim paved the way for the New Journalism (he coined the phrase ``radical chic'' years before Tom Wolfe used it). Honest to the bone, the cranky wordspinner was a wise man without wheels. Or as he writes in ``For My Brothers and Sisters in the Failure Business,'' ``Thousands upon thousands of people who I believe are like me are those who have never found the professional skin to fit the riot in their souls.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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