Wish I Could Be There (Paperback)

Notes from a Phobic Life

By Allen Shawn

Penguin Books, 9780143113072, 288pp.

Publication Date: January 29, 2008

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (2/1/2007)

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In addition to being the son of famous New Yorker editor William Shawn and brother of the distinguished playwright and actor Wallace Shawn, Allen Shawn is agoraphobic-he is afraid of both public spaces and isolation. Wish I Could Be There gracefully captures both of these extraordinary realities, blending memoir and scientific inquiry in an utterly engrossing quest to understand the mysteries of the human mind. Droll, probing, and honest, Shawn explores the many ways we all become who we are, whether through upbringing, genes, or our own choices, creating "an eloquent meditation upon the mysteries of personality and family"* and the struggle to face one's demons.

About the Author

Allen Shawn is the author of the critically acclaimed Wish I Could Be There and Arnold Schoenberg's Journey. He is a composer and pianist, and has written for the Atlantic Monthly, the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He lives in Vermont and is on the faculty of Bennington College.

Praise For Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life

"A harrowing, essential book about the force of fear gone wild in one person's mind and body."
-Chicago Tribune

"Remarkable. A brave, eccentric, and utterly compelling book that's as revelatory and candid as anything ever written by Joan Didion, and as humane and scientifically fascinating as any one of Oliver Sacks's case studies."
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times*

"A vividly written combination of memoir and scientific inquiry."
-The New Yorker