Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life

Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life

by Allen Shawn
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In addition to being the son of famous New Yorker editor William Shawn and brother of the distinguished playwright and actor Wallace Shawn, Allen Shawn is agoraphobic-he is afraid of both public spaces and isolation. Wish I Could Be There gracefully captures both of these extraordinary realities, blending memoir and scientific inquiry in an utterly…  See more details below

Overview

In addition to being the son of famous New Yorker editor William Shawn and brother of the distinguished playwright and actor Wallace Shawn, Allen Shawn is agoraphobic-he is afraid of both public spaces and isolation. Wish I Could Be There gracefully captures both of these extraordinary realities, blending memoir and scientific inquiry in an utterly engrossing quest to understand the mysteries of the human mind. Droll, probing, and honest, Shawn explores the many ways we all become who we are, whether through upbringing, genes, or our own choices, creating "an eloquent meditation upon the mysteries of personality and family"* and the struggle to face one's demons.

Editorial Reviews

Though not a thriller, Wish I Could Be There is, nonetheless, a study in terror -- specifically, the terror of agoraphobia that has derailed the life of author/composer Allan Shawn. In this memoir, the son of legendary New Yorker editor William Shawn seeks explanations for his crippling panic in the annals of neuroscience and psychology and in his complicated family history. He weighs the impact of his father's four-decades-long extramarital affair, his mother's overprotectiveness, the institutionalizing of his autistic twin sister, and a family dynamic steeped in secrecy, repression, and denial; yet he is remarkably generous in judgment. Fascinating, unflinchingly honest, and conspicuous for its absence of rage, blame, or self-pity, this is navel-gazing at its best.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101202074
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/29/2008
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,212,381
File size:
285 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A harrowing, essential book about the force of fear gone wild in one person's mind and body."
-Chicago Tribune

"Remarkable. A brave, eccentric, and utterly compelling book that's as revelatory and candid as anything ever written by Joan Didion, and as humane and scientifically fascinating as any one of Oliver Sacks's case studies."
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times*

"A vividly written combination of memoir and scientific inquiry."
-The New Yorker

Meet the Author

Allen Shawn is on the faculty at Bennington College in Vermont. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >