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The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress
     

The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress

by Scott Nadelson
 

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Beginning in the summer of 2004, Scott Nadelson’s life fell apart. His fiancée left him a month before their planned wedding for another woman who made her living performing as a drag king. He moved into a drafty attic. His car’s brakes went out. He learned that his cat was dying. Over the next two years, he’d struggle, with equivocal and

Overview

Beginning in the summer of 2004, Scott Nadelson’s life fell apart. His fiancée left him a month before their planned wedding for another woman who made her living performing as a drag king. He moved into a drafty attic. His car’s brakes went out. He learned that his cat was dying. Over the next two years, he’d struggle, with equivocal and sometimes humiliating results, to get back on his feet, in the process re-examining his past to understand his present circumstances.

The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress is a literary self-portrait that revolves around the dissolution of a relationship but encompasses the long process of a young man’s halting self-discovery. Exploring episodes from the life of its author/narrator marked by failure, suffering, and hope, as well as literary and cultural influence, the book weighs the things that make us want to give up against the things that keep us going. Though many of the pieces are comic and self-deprecating—some self-lacerating—they are above all meditations on the nature of the self and the way it can be constructed through memory, desire, and the imagination. Together they form a larger narrative, a search for fulfillment and identity in a life often governed by fear.

With humor and unflinching honesty, Scott Nadelson scrutinizes his life to discover who he is and finds just how elusive such a discovery can be. To read the resulting book is to join him on a personal journey that is thoughtful, surprising, occasionally hilarious, and unapologetically human.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A poignant meditation on love, literature, and the pains as well as the perverse pleasures of loneliness. Nadelson chronicles his life in progress with the wry, warm honesty of an old friend catching up after many years. He reminds us that the world can be simultaneously huge and miniscule, that what we read and see and remember is at once nothing and everything, that wholeness is much greater than any sum total you can imagine." — Meghan Daum, author of Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House

"The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress is an endearing self-portrait filled with wisdom, humor, and refreshing honesty. Nadelson examines moments in his life marked by failure and disappointment, yet nothing fails or disappoints in this fine modern memoir. A great read." — Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

"In The Next Scott Nadelson, the title figure is honest, open, and searching, and his presence on the page is truly consoling: his patient excavation of his life will help readers understand their own." — David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

Kirkus Reviews
Nadelson (Aftermath: Stories, 2011, etc.) takes a break from fiction to deliver this bit of personal history. The author grew up in New Jersey, but the first half of his memoir takes place in Oregon, where he moved after college. There he met his ex-fiancee, the woman who acted as impetus for the book. She left Nadelson a month before their planned wedding, and the breakup and its lonely aftermath form the backbone of his musings. After spending the bulk of the book chronicling those years, Nadelson turns to memories of his high school years and one summer as an adolescent at camp. During these chapters, he occasionally refers back to the dark period he experienced after his breakup, but he doesn't connect the segments in any major way. The lessons learned from his younger self are, when defined, eloquent and universal. About his uncle's suicide he writes, "What I glimpsed in Uncle Mitch's death, I can see now, was the well of potential suffering we all live with but rarely acknowledge." These moments hint at the wisdom acquired with time and self-examination, but they are unfortunately matched and even overshadowed by the opposite: times when the author sounds like he's still an angry teenager. Describing parents of his fellow campers, he writes, "These parents were the tacky rich, desperate to prove how high they'd climbed, and their children were spoiled and snobbish, nothing to envy." Nadelson may be right about this, but coming from the point of view of his older and hopefully wiser self, it just sounds bitter and judgmental. The series of vignettes he sketches are well-illustrated, but they lack focus and direction; many of them have little or nothing to do with the relationship disaster that seems to have sparked the writer's life analysis. Mostly for fans of Nadelson's fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780986000744
Publisher:
Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts, Incorporated
Publication date:
02/18/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
264
File size:
401 KB

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
A poignant meditation on love, literature, and the pains as well as the perverse pleasures of loneliness. Nadelson chronicles his life in progress with the wry, warm honesty of an old friend catching up after many years. He reminds us that the world can be simultaneously huge and miniscule, that what we read and see and remember is at once nothing and everything, that wholeness is much greater than any sum total you can imagine." — Meghan Daum, author of Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House

"The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress is an endearing self-portrait filled with wisdom, humor, and refreshing honesty. Nadelson examines moments in his life marked by failure and disappointment, yet nothing fails or disappoints in this fine modern memoir. A great read." — Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

"In The Next Scott Nadelson, the title figure is honest, open, and searching, and his presence on the page is truly consoling: his patient excavation of his life will help readers understand their own." — David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

Meet the Author

Scott Nadelson is the author of three story collections published by Hawthorne, including Aftermath and The Cantor’s Daughter. A winner of the Oregon Book Award for short fiction, the Reform Judaism Fiction Prize, and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award, he teaches creative writing at Willamette University and in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University. He lives in Salem, Oregon.

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