Maps to Anywhere

Overview


The essays in Maps to Anywhere plot terrain that is at once familiar and subtly strange. Writing on subjects ranging from his family to the origin of the barbershop pole, Bernard Cooper digs into the glimmering surface of the southern California landscape, observing the collision of the American Dream with the realities of everyday life. From the fragments, he discovers landmarks by which he attempts to make sense of contemporary America.
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Overview


The essays in Maps to Anywhere plot terrain that is at once familiar and subtly strange. Writing on subjects ranging from his family to the origin of the barbershop pole, Bernard Cooper digs into the glimmering surface of the southern California landscape, observing the collision of the American Dream with the realities of everyday life. From the fragments, he discovers landmarks by which he attempts to make sense of contemporary America.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This set of essays captures the open-ended, rootless feel of modern life. . . . [These] dazzling, elusive shards [are] crafted with precision."--Publishers Weekly

"An astonishing collection of daring and highly evocative texts [which,] dictated by Cooper's love of language, his reverence for memory and the quirky shapes experience takes, and arranged according to the rhythms of reunion, expand the notions of what fiction can be."--PEN/Hemingway Award Committee

"Bernard Cooper is extremely gifted. This book is fascinating."--Annie Dillard

"When [an] author has this much intelligence, verbal dexterity, warmth, and honesty, we can safely predict we will be reading him with relish for years to come."--Phillip Lopate

"The images Cooper conjures up in Maps to Anywhere become quickly stated poems or paintings whose surfaces are dazzlingly luminous. . . . I enjoyed this book very much."--Ann Beattie

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As its title intimates, this set of essays captures the open-ended, rootless feel of modern life. Cooper, whose writings have appeared in Harper's and Grand Street , lets his imagination play freely over sundry topics--barber poles, learning to draw, modern architecture, dinosaurs, photography, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, being childless. Growing up in Southern California, he dreamed of utopias while his ``home life resisted perfection.'' From his father, and from the taste of horseradish, he learned that pleasure can merge with pain. He writes movingly of his brother dying of leukemia, and of his hyperenergetic, eccentric father, a lawyer who took on odd cases. Cooper's ironic tone is at once self-deprecating and subverting of the reader's preconceptions. Autobiographical fragments, prose poems, spiels and mini-essays crafted with precision are dazzling, elusive shards in this jigsaw. (June)
Booknews
Although the terrain is pure Americana--hibachis, parking lots, paint shops--the maps are of mind and memory, essays, meditations, and prose poems that float wistfully over the southern California landscape, as nostalgic, touching, and vaguely disembodied as the American Dream itself. Most of the pieces have been previously published in a variety of reviews. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Bernard Cooper is the author of Guess Again, A Year of Rhymes, and Truth Serum. He has won numerous awards, including an O. Henry Prize, a PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Getty Center for the Arts and Humanities Fellowship. He has taught at Antioch University, Los Angeles, and the UCLA Writer's Program.
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