I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence by Kim Dana Kupperman | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence

I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence

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by Kim Dana Kupperman
     
 

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I Just Lately Started Buying Wings is a finely crafted debut, winner of the 2009 Bakeless Nonfiction Prize

Kim Dana Kupperman's essays plumb the emotional and spiritual depths of a transitory life. Her episodic "missives" cover territory from the chaos of a frenetic childhood to love affairs, failed and otherwise, to the Chernobyl nuclear accident,

Overview

I Just Lately Started Buying Wings is a finely crafted debut, winner of the 2009 Bakeless Nonfiction Prize

Kim Dana Kupperman's essays plumb the emotional and spiritual depths of a transitory life. Her episodic "missives" cover territory from the chaos of a frenetic childhood to love affairs, failed and otherwise, to the Chernobyl nuclear accident, to an ocean-crossing search for her Eastern European roots. In confident, lyrical prose, Kupperman leads the reader through a winding gallery—a collection of still lifes and portraits, landscapes of loneliness and love.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[These essays] return readers to the fundamental nonfiction experience, an immersion in real life, exquisitely rendered. Here is a world--her world--so finely observed that it becomes our world, too. Here is a voice, both smoldering and meditative, that inhabits every page like an attentive host, inviting us in and offering no choice but to step over the threshold.” —Sue Halpern, Bakeless Nonfiction Judge

“'Go fish, Kimche, go fish,' says her grandmother Fanya. And fish Kim Dana Kupperman does, down into the deep uncertain pool of suicide, death by AIDS, religious identity, bodies altered by the radiation poured forth at Chernobyl. These linked stories add up to a life--her life--in ways that are both harrowing and affirming, and that command our readerly respect.” —Albert Goldbarth, Author of The Kitchen Sink and To Be Read in 500 Years

“Kim Dana Kupperman is many things in this collection of essays--a daughter of tumultuous parents, granddaughter in search of her Ukrainian grandmother, sister of variously troubled half-brothers, a woman trying to sort through the vagaries of her own heart. We note the many things she is and has been, but what is even more exciting in this brilliant debut is that we feel in the presence of a writer. With sensuous, precise, and superbly crafted language, Kupperman gives us what literature at its best does: compelling stories artfully told.” —Barbara Hurd, author of Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains

“In prose that is by turns lyrical and precise, Kim Kupperman examines the mystery and depth of the human heart. Generous, forceful, and compassionate, I Just Lately Started Buying Wings is a stunning debut by an essayist of the first rank.” —Michael Steinberg, Founding Editor, Fourth Genre

“A remarkably talented writer, Kim Dana Kupperman understands the essay first and foremost as a literary form. Yet she never ventures into craft or creativity for its own sake. I Just Lately Started Buying Wings is a high-voltage book grounded in the passionate and often messy business of living. And best of all with these essays, something vital is always at issue.” —Robert Atwan, Series Editor, The Best American Essays

Author of The Kitchen Sink and To Be Read in 500 Y Albert Goldbarth
'Go fish, Kimche, go fish,' says her grandmother Fanya. And fish Kim Dana Kupperman does, down into the deep uncertain pool of suicide, death by AIDS, religious identity, bodies altered by the radiation poured forth at Chernobyl. These linked stories add up to a life—her life—in ways that are both harrowing and affirming, and that command our readerly respect.
author of Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shi Barbara Hurd
Kim Dana Kupperman is many things in this collection of essays—a daughter of tumultuous parents, granddaughter in search of her Ukrainian grandmother, sister of variously troubled half-brothers, a woman trying to sort through the vagaries of her own heart. We note the many things she is and has been, but what is even more exciting in this brilliant debut is that we feel in the presence of a writer. With sensuous, precise, and superbly crafted language, Kupperman gives us what literature at its best does: compelling stories artfully told.
Kirkus Reviews
Gettysburg Review managing editor Kupperman offers discrete, attentive autobiographical essays concerning her relationship with her mother and others in her life. Undoing the harm of years of enforced silence-"the genesis of omission"-is the author's aim in these essays about family, travel and love, published separately in literary journals, and as a collection the winner of the 2009 Bread Loaf Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction. The first part deals with the author's mother, "Dolores, a prophecy of sorrows," who died by suicide in 1989. Kupperman admits her mother had always been "foreign" to her-a glamorous presence who had once worked at Revlon and became the wife of a several-times married fundraiser for Jewish philanthropies (Kupperman's father) in the 1950s. The couple underwent a rancorous custody battle when the author was eight, although it wasn't until Kupperman's father was dying in 2004 that he allowed her access to the extensive court files. "Habeas Corpus" delineates the unsavory contents of those files, such as the mother's neglect of the daughter and entrapment by detectives in an adultery sting, ultimately necessitating both parties' need to win the girl's allegiance. In "Teeth in the Wind," the author layers reflections of her family over different time periods: The "ghosts" riding a coastal wind storm in Maine circa 1995 bring to mind her attempts to locate the story of her paternal grandmother, supposedly from Kiev, who actually hailed from the Pale of Settlement region in western Ukraine before venturing to America after the pogroms of 1905. The Chernobyl nuclear cataclysm kept Kupperman from traveling to Russia, further complicating "the business of remembering." In "The Perfect Meal," the author examines her doomed love affair with a married man, and "That Roar on the Other Side of Violence" provides eloquent anecdotes about the battered women who populated a domestic-abuse shelter where the author worked. Moving selections, somewhat disconnected but gracefully composed.
Mary Jo Murphy
It almost doesn't matter that by the end of the book we don't have a much clearer understanding of Kupperman's parents or brothers or lovers or friends or, significantly, Kupperman herself. Her sentences can be as ethereal and elusive as her subjects, but their descriptive power makes them worth the chase.
—The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555975609
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Publication date:
06/22/2010
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

I’m preoccupied with how the practice of secret-keeping begins, with putting my finger on the origin of behavior as easily as I might touch a map to locate a town or a river. Perhaps pinpointing these intersections—of time and geography, the movement of ordinary lives along those continuums—will help reshape a memory fractured by omissions. —from “Teeth in the Wind”

Meet the Author

Kim Dana Kupperman's work has appeared in Best American Essays and many literary journals. She is the founder of Welcome Table Press and works as a managing editor of The Gettysburg Review.

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