The Elusive Embrace (Paperback)

Desire and the Riddle of Identity

By Daniel Mendelsohn

Vintage, 9780375706974, 224pp.

Publication Date: June 20, 2000

List Price: 15.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

Hailed for its searing emotional insights, and for the astonishing originality with which it weaves together personal history, cultural essay, and readings of classical texts by Sophocles, Ovid, Euripides, and Sappho, The Elusive Embrace is a profound exploration of the mysteries of identity.  It is also a meditation in which the author uses his own divided life to investigate the "rich conflictedness of things," the double lives all of us lead.

Daniel Mendelsohn recalls the deceptively quiet suburb where he grew up, torn between his mathematician father's pursuit of scientific truth and the exquisite lies spun by his Orthodox Jewish grandfather; the streets of manhattan's newest "gay ghetto," where "desire for love" competes with "love of desire;" and the quiet moonlit house where a close friend's small son teaches him the meaning of fatherhood.  And, finally, in a neglected Jewish cemetery, the author uncovers a  family secret that reveals the universal need for storytelling, for inventing myths of the self.  The book that Hilton Als calls "equal to Whitman's 'Song of Myself,'" The Elusive Embrace marks a dazzling literary debut.


About the Author

DANIEL MENDELSOHN is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, where he is the Editor at Large. His books include the international best seller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and many other honors; a memoir, The Elusive Embrace, a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year; a translation, with commentary, of the complete poems of C. P. Cavafy; and two collections of essays, How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken and Waiting for the Barbarians. A professor of Humanities at Bard College, he is Director of the Robert B. Silvers Foundation.



Praise For The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity

"A one-of-a-kind book-wise, startling, and wonderfully unclassifiable."  -Newsweek

"A literary achievement of the first rank.... The Greeks knew how to give a universal significance to individual experience.  So does Daniel Mendelsohn."  -The New York Observer