The Best American Essays 1987

PDF-file by Gay Talese

The Best American Essays 1987 PDF ebook download Overall, this volume was more interesting and had less stuffy, specialized scholarship than the 1986 volume. Its introduction by guest editor Gay Talese (of "Sinatra Has a Cold" fame) was the funniest part—it had little say about the selections or about essay writing in general; it was really Talese telling the "behind the scenes" story of writing his Sinatra profile for Esquire (I think he figured he had a captive audience and also wanted to criticize what he sees as the plummeting qualityof reportage). Talese is foremost a journalist, and his editorial choices attest to this; most of the "essays" are actually journalistic articles with a sharp observer focusing on some external subject. I'm guessing that Talese has little to say about the nature of the essay, let alone about art. Of the three standout pieces, two were actually essays (Lopate's "Against Joie de Vivre" and Scott Russell Sanders's "The Inheritance of Tools"). The only journalistic piece that I might someday return to is Calvin Trillin's "Rumors Around Town," the longest piece in the book and a great example of investigative crime journalism. As a whole, this was not a keeper.

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