Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life

Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life

by Erica Jong
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"For more than three decades, Erica Jong has ravished the pants off literature's stuffiest stereotypes. Now, in a memoir written with the same sensuality, humor, and unprecedented honesty that made Fear of Flying a classic, Jong reveals her life as a writer: three decades of fame, derision, husbands, lovers, wine, and sometime sobriety. And through it all, writing… See more details below

Overview

"For more than three decades, Erica Jong has ravished the pants off literature's stuffiest stereotypes. Now, in a memoir written with the same sensuality, humor, and unprecedented honesty that made Fear of Flying a classic, Jong reveals her life as a writer: three decades of fame, derision, husbands, lovers, wine, and sometime sobriety. And through it all, writing kept her sane." Jong is refreshingly direct - whether writing sex scenes, evoking the lure of alcohol and grass in the search for ecstasy, or revealing her fling with the (now former) husband of the world's most famous domestic diva. She tells us about her struggles with the rigid narrative of AA, and how she discovered the joys of both tantric sex and grandmotherhood in her sixties. Equally candid about the privileges of fame and the slaps of notoriety, Jong reveals how writers from Sylvia Plath to Henry Miller have influenced and guided her.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In four discursive essays and an introduction, Jong (Fear of Flying; Any Woman's Blues) ruminates on the elements of her writer's life. Most notable is sexuality: pursuit of the muse has often meant pursuit of a demon lover, a man utterly wrong for her. She walks away from Ted Hughes in the 1970s, but not from many other wrong men. Jong has had four husbands, one child and 20 books in the past four decades. Now in her 60s, she's well-read, well-traveled, therapized, happily married and sexually satisfied. Her memoir in vignettes asserts that without writing, Jong would go crazy, drink well beyond the excesses of her past and be miserable. Writing has propelled her forward into a fulfilled life. There is a fine section on women writers who pursued death (Plath, Sexton, Woolf); Jong explains why she refused to be one of them. These chatty, gossipy essays are just serious enough to count as literary. Jong, however, shrugs off the immense economic privilege that allowed her to write and travel from adolescence and meet famous people who influenced her writing early. She also never explains how she writes. Engaging and amusing, this work is less substantive than it could or should be. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
"The job of a writer is to seduce the demons of creativity and make up stories," proclaims novelist Jong, often regarded as one of the most controversial women writers of our time. Best known for her 1973 work Fear of Flying, she has been called everything from a feminist to a pornographer, and her work has left an indelible thumbprint on the landscape of American literature. Now in her sixties, Jong has much to look back on in this memoir: her life and loves (she married four times); sexuality (and its impact on her work); fame (she befriended everyone from Ted Hughes to Henry Miller); gossip (she allegedly had an affair with the now ex of Martha Stewart); and misfortune (she spent time in rehab for alcohol addiction). Though Jong discusses her parents briefly, any real sense of the author's background and the foundation of privilege that allowed her to become a writer is missing. As a result, the memoir lacks the intensity it would have had if Jong had dug into her familial closet a bit more deeply. Still, Fear of Flying has sold more than 18 million copies a testament that people still enjoy reading Jong. Therefore, this memoir is a fine addition to libraries as a complement to the writer's other works. Valeda Dent, Metropolitan New York Lib. Council Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A zesty, savvy, freewheeling memoir of the writing life, portions of which first appeared in the New York Times Book Review and The Writer magazine. Readers expecting gutsy writing from the author of Fear of Flying (1973) will not be disappointed. Jong vows to tell the truth about herself: her mistakes, her regrets, her divorces, her lawsuits. As she explains it, even the most uncomfortable things she did, she did knowing that she would write about them. She is candid about her addiction to alcohol and her rehab efforts, the time she passed out next to Robert Redford at a dinner party, her night in a Beverly Hills jail for drunk driving and, of course, her sexual encounters. "I kill my enemies with words," she writes, and her rebuttal of Martha Stewart's claim that Jong ruined her marriage is a demonstration of that skill. Her take on Hollywood and the perils of being a novice in the business of turning a novel into a movie could be a book all by itself. As it is, it's a trenchant profile of the late producer Julia Phillips. Her descriptive powers come to the fore in her account of living, loving and working in Venice. From time to time, Jong turns to the art of writing, describing her own character-driven approach to the novel; her techniques for summoning up the muse (or in her case, "seducing the demon" of creativity); and the importance of writing the truth. She also pays tribute to the women poets who influenced her generation, especially Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, who spoke "straight from the female gut." Name-dropping abounds, but not offensively so; it's all part of creating a picture of the world into which Jong was propelled by early fame. Brief stories about her parents'lives suggest another book waiting to be written. If leaving the reader wanting more is the mark of success, then Jong succeeds.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585424443
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/16/2006
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >