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A Fly in the Soup: Memoirs

Overview


A Fly in the Soup is a book of memoirs. Charles Simic was born in 1938 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and spent his childhood in a city bombed by the Nazis in 1941 and then by the Allies in 1944. He was jailed with his mother after the war for trying to flee what was by then a communist country. He managed to emigrate in 1953, first to Paris and then a year later to the United States. He lived in New York, completed his high school education in Chicago and began writing in English and publishing his first poems in ...
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Overview


A Fly in the Soup is a book of memoirs. Charles Simic was born in 1938 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and spent his childhood in a city bombed by the Nazis in 1941 and then by the Allies in 1944. He was jailed with his mother after the war for trying to flee what was by then a communist country. He managed to emigrate in 1953, first to Paris and then a year later to the United States. He lived in New York, completed his high school education in Chicago and began writing in English and publishing his first poems in 1959 when he was twenty-one years old.

The book collects pieces written on such diverse subjects as memory, history, the bombing of cities, cuisine, philosophy, life in the army, movies, and growing up in wartime. Arranged chronologically, they make an unusual memoir of exile and refugee life, a collage of stories, anecdotes, meditations and poetic fragments from one of the most barbaric periods of the last century. This is a story of a young man whose travel agents were Hitler and Stalin--the autobiography of the early years of one of the most respected contemporary American poets.

Charles Simic has published more than sixty books in the United States and abroad for which he has received a number of prestigious literary awards including the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the MacArthur Fellowship.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
A Fly in the Soup by Charles Simic, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and critic, is more than a writer's account of his own formation; it is also the story of a man shaped by extremes of history, a story of displacement, war and exile—a central story of the last century and one that Simic, who never let horror deprive him of aesthetic and sensual pleasure, tells vividly.
Library Journal
Celebrated poet Simic (winner of both a Pulitzer and a MacArthur) here offers his memoirs. The first 15 chapters present a consistent narrative, moving from Simic's childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia and Paris to his young manhood in Chicago and New York City. Here he sets up motives of European surrealism, mysticism, eroticism, and flights of romance and rhetoric. Simic's Slavic originality is introduced with simplicity and sensitivity; the young poet discovers the joys of the public library system and the "cultivated, controlled anarchy" of jazz. But subsequent passages become less even, with several parts reading like stylistic inserts. Simic's nostalgia for New York City in the 1960s, his poet's self-awarenesses, his intoxications, and a cinematographic dream list pepper the middle of the memoir. Skeptical about anything that makes any sense, Simic strategically makes small forays into the embarrassing and the incomprehensible. Passages about dreams, sexual desire, politics, and theology and pronouncements about poetry become less revealing, at times anti-intellectual, and, ultimately, less intimate. In the end, the memoir poetically wanders apart. Recommended for fans of Simic.--Scott Hightower, Fordham Univ., New York Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472089093
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 1/6/2003
  • Series: Poets on Poetry Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,401,962
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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