The Secret Lives of Wordsby Paul West
We are often unaware of the unique and intriguing stories of the words we love. Thousands of our words have been so twisted, tangled, misused, and muddled over the centuries that their original meaning has been obscured. You'll be surprised to learn that table napkins were once made of and referred to as "asbestos," that "atom" means uncuttable, that a "cloud" was once a hill, and that a "companion" is one who eats bread with you.
Compiled over years in his handwritten notebooks, acclaimed prose stylist Paul West offers us an album of treasures. The Secret Lives of Words is an "Antiques Road Show" of language, in which West chronicles the centuries-long travels of words across continents and through cultures. For word-enthusiasts, speakers, writers, thinkers, and all readers, this volume recounting the intimate ancestry of language will enrich our understanding of and appreciation for the words we use today.
Newark Star Ledger
"His is one of the most original talents in American fiction."-The New York Times Book Review "Paul West is a writer splendidly attuned to history."-Walter Abish
"A sorcerer of language."-Publishers Weekly
"West is a master."-the Washington Post Book World
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Meet the Author
Paul West, called "a national treasure," is the author of eighteen novels, most recently Life with Swan, and ten works of nonfiction. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, he has taught at Brown University, Cornell University, and the University of Arizona. He lives in Ithaca, New York.
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