The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup (Hardcover)
My Encounters with Extraordinary People
Random House, 9780679462989, 320pp.
Publication Date: January 1, 2001
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In this vibrant collection, Susan Orlean introduces us to an extraordinary array of people, from the well-known (Bill Blass) to the unknown (a typical ten-year-old boy) to the formerly known (sixties girl group the Shaggs). Passionate people. Short people. Young people. And one champion show dog named Biff, who, from a certain angle, looks like President Clinton. Some of these folks are a bit eccentric, like the shopkeeper who has spent thirty years of his life selling nothing but ceiling fans, or the most-sought-after entertainer on the children's birthday-party circuit, a clown known as Silly Billy. Others are living unusual lives, like the bullfighter of the title, the first woman to become a matador in Spain; or the African king driving a taxi in New York City, who keeps his throne in his living room. Susan Orlean brings her wry sensibility, exuberant voice, and peculiar curiosities to a fascinating range of subcultures -- sports and music and hairdressing and real estate, among others. The result is a joyful tour of the human condition as seen through the eyes of one of America's most entertaining and original literary journalists.