Road Scholar: Coast to Coast Late in the Century

Overview

Andrei Codrescu, the inimitable National Public Radio commentator and poet, decided to travel the United States of America in search of its wonderful excesses and ironies.

Codrescu's witty and poignant perceiptions are always informed by recollections of his unusual upbringing in Stalinist Romania and his experiences of the changes in America from the revolutionary 1960s to the 1990s. Road Scholar is illustrated throughout with photographs of Andrei's odyssey by the acclaimed ...

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Overview

Andrei Codrescu, the inimitable National Public Radio commentator and poet, decided to travel the United States of America in search of its wonderful excesses and ironies.

Codrescu's witty and poignant perceiptions are always informed by recollections of his unusual upbringing in Stalinist Romania and his experiences of the changes in America from the revolutionary 1960s to the 1990s. Road Scholar is illustrated throughout with photographs of Andrei's odyssey by the acclaimed photographer David Graham, who translates the sometimes absurd realities of contemporary American culture into unforgettably iconic works of art. Funny, moving, and challenging, Road Scholar provides an antirely new perspective on the vast and varied contemporary American experience.

Inspired by the classic Kerouac tradition of mixing writing with wanderlust, poet and National Public Radio regular Andrei Codrescu chronicles his own picaresque trek through America in this raucous, resonant memoir. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year in Hyperion hardcover.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Approached by a TV producer to make a documentary about a drive across the U.S., Codrescu, Rumanian-born poet and commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered , declined. He didn't drive. But after pondering the tradition of American rediscovery by such notables as Walt Whitman, Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac, he took driving lessons and possession of a vintage (1968) red Cadillac convertible and set out to explore an America not on most maps. For him that country stretches from the Nuyorican Cafe on Manhattan's lower East Side, along the ``psychic highway'' through the land of the Shakers, Mormons and Oneidists, to the Polish enclave of Hamtramck in the heart of Detroit, to the ``holy dirt'' of Chimayo, N.M. not far from the community of Sikhs near Albuquerque, through the drive-in wedding chapels of Las Vegas to the San Francisco of poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Vietnamese immigrants. With photos by Graham ( Only in America ), Codrescu portrays with style and affection a hilariously contradictory, paradoxically spiritual and materialistic country. (Apr.)
Library Journal
When a New York TV producer suggested to Codrescu that he travel across America as part of a PBS special, he accepted the challenge. Shortly thereafter, Codrescu, a Romanian American poet and author of The Hole in the Flag ( LJ 6/15/91; ``Best Books of 1991,'' LJ 1/92), set out in a 1968 Cadillac. First, he had to learn how to drive--something he had never wanted to do. Because Codrescu is a commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered , his book not surprisingly follows the radio format. In a series of often humorous vignettes, Codrescu--a member of the Sixties generation--brings a new look to what he saw as a fresh young immigrant from Romania. One of the more interesting chapters is his depiction of Santa Fe and the New Age characters who now inhabit that city of harmonic convergences. The few photographs seen add another dimension to this whimsical book. For all collections.-- George M. Jenks, Bucknell Univ., Lewisburg, Pa.
Ray Olson
This is the first product of a had-to-happen project: a plan to send the most prominent inheritor of 1950s Beat sensibility off on a coast-to-coast drive like the Kerouac-Cassidy road cruise that eventuated in "On the Road". Like but unlike, for this book is a travelogue full of famous and interesting places, not a novel, and as an immigrant from communist Romania, Codrescu's much more politically conscious than Jack and Neal ever were. But like Kerouac, Codrescu didn't drive, at least until filmmaker Roger Weisberg talked him into the continental jaunt a film, by the way, is the second product promised by this journey. So, it is learning to drive and getting the appropriate vehicle--a '68 Caddy--along with the tangential anecdotes, facetiae, etc., that are Codrescu's stock-in-trade as a humorous commentator one of National Public Radio's best that occupy "Road Scholar"'s early pages. He keeps up the entertaining patter and earns his credentials as a hipster warm, fuzzy variety from the Lower East Side to North Beach. He talks with a lot of intriguing folk, too: from contemporary communalists and sausage factory workers to Liberace fans and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Photographs by David Graham whose work suggests what Diane Arbus' might have been like if she'd ever lightened up liberally illustrate.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781562828783
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 4/28/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 194
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrei Codrescu

A poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for NPR's All Things Considered, ANDREI CODRESCU is the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University and the editor of the literary journal Exquisite Corpse.

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