Asa, As I Knew Him

Overview

Dinah Sachs and Asa Thayer have had a love affair, conducted in afternoons stolen from the office of the magazine where they work. But now that the affair is over, Dinah, in an act of lingering passion, invents a narrative of Asa's youth, imagining the events that shaped the "happy, handsome man" who, in her words, "was born to stomp on my heart."

Witty and sexy, funny and immediate, Asa, As I Knew Him is a a seductive dialogue between love and...

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Asa, as I Knew Him

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Overview

Dinah Sachs and Asa Thayer have had a love affair, conducted in afternoons stolen from the office of the magazine where they work. But now that the affair is over, Dinah, in an act of lingering passion, invents a narrative of Asa's youth, imagining the events that shaped the "happy, handsome man" who, in her words, "was born to stomp on my heart."

Witty and sexy, funny and immediate, Asa, As I Knew Him is a a seductive dialogue between love and memory, obsession and illusion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Profound, surprising, and ultimately enlightening . . . Kaysen is a gifted and potent author." --Los Angeles Times

"Susanna Kaysen possesses a lyrical wryness that splendidly evokes . . . all the scents and unnamed sadnesses that lay claim to memory and give us reason to go on." --Boston Globe

"It is a tribute to Kaysen's considerable talent that we easily believe in all her inventions." --The New York Times Book Review

"Luminous." --San Francisco Chronicle

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is an exceptionally well-written, polished, curious novel, ostensibly about the love affair between the passionate Jewish narrator, Dinah Sachs, and her WASPish boss, Asa Thayer, a blond, soulless man whose people ``think their great-great-grandfathers sprang fully evolved on these shores, products of the Mayflower's timber and New Hampshire rock.'' The account of the actual affair is sketchy and intriguing, and almost two-thirds of the book is devoted to a description of Asa's teenaged friendship with and attraction to Reuben Sola, a handsome, daredevil, Jewish esthete who dies by accident while climbing a bridge for the thrill of it. For all the author's observations about Asa and the attempt to use Reuben's life and death to explain Asa's distance from others, Asa remains a blurred figure. This is unfortunate: the reader would like to understand him beyond cultural cliches, and the author might have offered a more effective portrait had she focused on Dinah and Asa rather than Reuben and Asa. (April)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679753773
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/1/1994
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Susanna Kaysen is also the author of the novel Far Afield and Girl, Interrupted, a memoir.  She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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