PARTY OF ONE: The Loners' Manifesto

Anneli Rufus, Author . Marlowe & Co. $14.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-56924-513-2

In this compendium of everyone who was anyone who ever spent a moment alone, readers bump fleetingly into Kurt Cobain, French Resistance fighters, the Lone Ranger ("Tonto notwithstanding"), Michelangelo, Alexander Pope, John Lennon, cowboys, Saint Anthony and other solo acts. Rufus, the books editor of East Bay Express, views Degas's plain-faced dancers as "pretty ballerinas" whom the artist leaves every time he exits his studio, and Warhol's biography as "tellingly titled Loner at the Ball." She chases her motif, not so much a manifesto as a cri de coeur, through an assortment of perspectives: religion, advertising, clothes, crime, art, eccentricity, environment, literature, religion and popular culture. She also identifies "pseudoloners" like Theodore Kaczynski and Jesus Christ (who "was too good at guiding crowds to have been one of us"). There's an us/them tone to this book that makes one wonder who the audience might be. The "us" people "do not need writers to tell us how lovely apartness is"; the "them" people will surely weary of being identified as "Nonloners. The world at large. The mob." Taken in column-sized doses, Rufus may be entertaining and informative, but her book feels as if too much random information has been cut-and-pasted together. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/27/2003
Release date: 01/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
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