By Adam Phillips
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374212575, 336pp.
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
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“Balancing acts,” writes Adam Phillips, “are entertaining because they are risky, but there are situations in which it is more dangerous to keep your balance than to lose it.” In these exhilarating and casually brilliant essays, the philosopher and psychoanalyst examines literature, fairy tales, works of art, and case studies to reveal the paradoxes inherent in our appetites and fears. How do we know when enough is enough? Are there times when too much is just right? Why is Cinderella’s biggest problem not the prince but other women? What can Richard III’s furious sense of his own helplessness tell us of our own desires? On Balance shows Phillips’s bravura gift for linking disparate ideas and the dreamers that dreamed them into something beautiful, revelatory, and essential.
Praise for Adam Phillips:
“The curious thing about reading Phillips is that he makes you feel smart and above the daily grind at the same time as he reassures you that you are not alone in your primal anxieties about whether you are lovable or nuts or, perhaps, merely boring.”—Daphne Merkin, The New York Times Magazine
“One of the finest prose stylists at work in the language, an Emerson of our time.”—John Banville