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Between Panic and Desire

Overview


Between Panic and Desire, named after two towns in Pennsylvania, finds Dinty W. Moore at the top of his astutely funny form. A book that could be named after one of its chapters, “A Post-Nixon, Post-panic, Post-modern, Post-mortem,” this collection is an unconventional memoir of one man and his culture, which also happens to be our own.
 
Blending narrative and quizzes, memory and numerology, and imagined interviews and conversations with...
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Between Panic and Desire

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Overview


Between Panic and Desire, named after two towns in Pennsylvania, finds Dinty W. Moore at the top of his astutely funny form. A book that could be named after one of its chapters, “A Post-Nixon, Post-panic, Post-modern, Post-mortem,” this collection is an unconventional memoir of one man and his culture, which also happens to be our own.
 
Blending narrative and quizzes, memory and numerology, and imagined interviews and conversations with dead presidents on TV, the book dizzily documents the disorienting experience of growing up in a postmodern world. Here we see how the major events in the author’s early life—the Kennedy assassination, Nixon’s resignation, watching Father Knows Best, and dropping acid atop the World Trade Center, to name a few—shaped the way he sees events both global and personal today. More to the point, we see how these events shaped, and possibly even distorted, today’s world for all who spent their formative years in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. A curious meditation on family and bereavement, longing and fear, self-loathing and desire, Between Panic and Desire unfolds in kaleidoscopic forms—a coroner’s report, a TV movie script, a Zen koan—aptly reflecting the emergence of a fractured virtual America.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this "unconventional, nonsequential, generational autobiography, AKA cultural memoir," Moore, a professor of English at Ohio University, describes growing up as a child of the 1950s. "Panic" characterized his youth, as he watched "the symbols of safety and security" on television-Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best-while his real world fell apart. His mother had left his often-inebriated father, but couldn't handle raising the children herself. "Paranoia" was the theme of his teen years, as JFK and King were assassinated; the draft and the Vietnam War drove young men to extremes; and characters like Charlie Manson, Squeaky Fromme, Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley Jr. all took aim at public figures. Moore's own paranoia was only heightened by using LSD and smoking dope while tooling around in his VW Beetle. Miraculously, "desire began to overtake panic"; he discovered a passion for writing, which has focused him ever since. Moore lays all this out in a series of free-form, almost playful essays; only there's something serious here, too, as he realizes our history seems to repeat itself: the Patriot Act sounds like 1984and Iraq feels like Vietnam all over again. In the end, Moore (The Accidental Buddhist) takes readers on a quirky, entertaining joyride. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Moore's (The Accidental Buddhist: Mindfulness, Enlightenment, and Sitting Still) latest work is less a detailed memoir than a collection of essays packed with quizzes and make-believe interviews, the author's remembrances of his early life and accounts of his personal drug use, talk of television sitcoms and real political figures and events, and so on. The writing is frequently very funny; insightful, too, especially Moore's belief that humans are generally delusional when it comes to their expectations vs. what is realistically possible. All this comes into focus-albeit occasionally hazy focus-through Moore's imaginative interpretation of his actual double vision (what is seen, or thought to be seen, he writes, is not the true image but an approximation). The narrative has its poignant moments, particularly in Moore's recollections of his father. And despite his fractured take on the world, his message is essentially hopeful. Moore, it seems, is moving on. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
—Robert Kelly Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Booklist

“Moore forges a brisk, incisive, funny, sometimes silly, yet stealthily affecting memoir in essays and skits, a ‘generational autobiography,’ and good candid guy stuff. . . . Each anecdote, piece of pop-culture trivia, and frankly confessed panic and desire yields a chunk of irony and a sliver of wisdom.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist

— Donna Seaman

Los Angeles Times

Between Panic and Desire is more autopsy than memoir—a strange new hybrid. It''s a fantasy of letting go of the things that have haunted Moore his entire life. These things do, in fact, float off the pages.”—Los Angeles Times

— Susan Salter Reynolds

Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Between Panic and Desire turns the memoir genre on its head as it deftly moves from essay to essay."—Peter Grandbois, Review of Contemporary Fiction

— Peter Grandbois

Oxford Town

“This book is funny, funny, funny. It is an unconventional—some might say, experimental—collection of frolicsome and touching personal essays. . . . [T]he book is a rare example of how unusual form actually helps. It is the ideal display for Dinty’s imagination. He daydreams. He fantasizes. He hallucinates. And this is nonfiction. For anyone who thinks the genre is nothing more than a retelling of facts, pick up a copy of Between Panic and Desire. . . . It is literary nonfiction with integrity. And it’s fun.”—Oxford Town

— Neil White

Booklist - Donna Seaman

“Moore forges a brisk, incisive, funny, sometimes silly, yet stealthily affecting memoir in essays and skits, a ‘generational autobiography,’ and good candid guy stuff. . . . Each anecdote, piece of pop-culture trivia, and frankly confessed panic and desire yields a chunk of irony and a sliver of wisdom.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist
 
 

Los Angeles Times - Susan Salter Reynolds

Between Panic and Desire is more autopsy than memoir—a strange new hybrid. It's a fantasy of letting go of the things that have haunted Moore his entire life. These things do, in fact, float off the pages.”—Los Angeles Times
Oxford Town - Neil White

“This book is funny, funny, funny. It is an unconventional—some might say, experimental—collection of frolicsome and touching personal essays. . . . [T]he book is a rare example of how unusual form actually helps. It is the ideal display for Dinty’s imagination. He daydreams. He fantasizes. He hallucinates. And this is nonfiction. For anyone who thinks the genre is nothing more than a retelling of facts, pick up a copy of Between Panic and Desire. . . . It is literary nonfiction with integrity. And it’s fun.”—Oxford Town

Review of Contemporary Fiction - Peter Grandbois

"Between Panic and Desire turns the memoir genre on its head as it deftly moves from essay to essay."—Peter Grandbois, Review of Contemporary Fiction
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803229822
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Series: American Lives
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 1,194,125
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Dinty W. Moore is a professor and the director of the creative writing program at Ohio University. He is the author of several books, including The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction and The Accidental Buddhist: Mindfulness, Enlightenment, and Sitting Still.
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