Fatigue Artist

Fatigue Artist

by Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Songhee Kim
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The Fatigue Artist is a refreshingly candid story about life, love, and survival in the contemporary world. A writer living in New York City, Laura is overwhelmed by a mysterious lethargy and retreats to her bed where she reflects on the loves and losses of her recent past and seeks the cure to her perplexing tiredness.
Fortified by the Eastern

Overview

The Fatigue Artist is a refreshingly candid story about life, love, and survival in the contemporary world. A writer living in New York City, Laura is overwhelmed by a mysterious lethargy and retreats to her bed where she reflects on the loves and losses of her recent past and seeks the cure to her perplexing tiredness.
Fortified by the Eastern teachings of her Tai Chi instructor and the nurturing attentions of friends and a acupuncturist, Laura crawls out of her somnambulism with intelligent determination in search of peace and resurrection. The Fatigue Artist is both a moving chronicle of a woman's search for meaning and a wry depiction of modern urban life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A woman begins suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome following the sudden death of her husband. (July)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684824680
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
07/25/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
0.73(w) x 5.00(h) x 8.00(d)

Related Subjects

What People are saying about this

Nicholas Delbanco
"Witty and hopeful and fierce...she writes of love in a way both surprising and wise."
Alice Adams
"The Fatigue Artist is as wonderfully intelligent and as sexy as all the novels of Lynne Sharon Schwartz."

Meet the Author

Lynne Sharon Schwartz

Lynne Sharon Schwartz grew up in Brooklyn, New York,
in the 1950s, in a middle-class family. Her father was a tax
lawyer, her mother a homemaker. Strongly influenced by
her immigrant grandparents, Schwartz had a large, extended
family with strong traditions and European values.

As a child, she remembers noticing the details of
things — conversations, emotion, faces. By age seven, she
was a writer, her themes were often philosophical and
moral. "I wrote one about how the world came into
being," she says. "And it was a kind of a deist vision of
God who was...a kind scientist....I wasn't a genius or anything,
I mean, I wrote like a seven-year old. But I thought
about things. And my parents were wonderful. They
encouraged me."

With a Bachelor's degree from Barnard and a Master's
degree from Bryn Mawr, Schwartz completed her course
work for a Doctorate in comparative literature, when her
life changed direction. She says, "I was just about to write
my thesis, in 1972, and I couldn't face it; every topic I
thought of was no good, and every time I went down in
the NYU stacks I'd just get sick. Then suddenly it dawned
on me: I was a little over thirty, and if I was going to
write, I'd better write. I had thought it would happen — I
would wake up one day and be a writer — but I didn't do
it. That has a lot to do with the way women are brought
up: you expect that things will happen to you, not that
you should go and pursue them. So I dropped the Ph.D.,
went home, and wrote."

For many years she wrote short stories, and in 1972
was approached by an editor who suggested she string a
series of shorts stories together into a longer novel. The
result was her brilliantly acclaimed first novel, Rough
Strife
, an intimate psychological portrait of a marriage in
trouble.

Perhaps because of her family background, as well as
her years of studying European literature, Schwartz feels
an affinity to 19th-century writers. Marcel Proust and
Henry James are her literary idols and she was also influenced
by the poets, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Keats.

"The way they use language has remained in my ear," she
says, "and in my writing I try to keep a sense of the stages
the language has passed through, and the way poets use
it." She acknowledges that she is going against the current
literary trend with its spare style but isn't particularly
concerned about the criticism. She says, "I can't write
that way because I simply don't see life that way. For me,
every gesture, every sentence, every interaction is taught
with meaning, with layers of complexity, and I can't write
as if that weren't true."

The Fatigue Artist is Schwartz's fifth novel, and her
most autobiographical. In 1991, after a period of great
stress, she found herself sick with Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome. For three or four months, she lay in bed with
only the strength to talk on the phone. In many ways, the
calls were life sustaining, and as she gradually felt better.
She began to write down the anecdotes and stories her
friends told her, as well as her own observations of what
was going on around her in the contemporary world.
Determined to use what life had to offer, she turned the
illness into a witty and humorous novel of introspection
and healing. "When I noticed all these...things happening
around me, I kept thinking, I'll use it, I'll use it," she says.
"It's not going to be a waste of time. I have a friend, a
very old, close friend, and whenever we're going through
anything difficult, we say to each other, 'Why worry?
Why? Some day all of this will become literature.'"

Lynne Sharon Schwartz currently lives in New York
City with her husband and has taught writing and literature
at Columbia, Boston, and Rice universities and at the
Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. She has
received numerous awards, and has been given grants for
her fiction by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation
and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her newest
book, Ruined by Reading, will be published in May.

OTHER WORKS BY LYNNE SHARON SCHWARTZ:

  • Rough Strife
  • Balancing Acts
  • Disturbances in the Field
  • Leaving Brooklyn
  • A Lynne Sharon Schwartz Reader:

    Selected Prose and Poetry

  • The Melting Pot and Other Subversive Stories
  • Aquatinted with the Night




Reading Group Discussion Points

Other Books With Reading Group Guides

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >