From the Publisher
“The grand master of the first-person singular ... Skiing is definitely a Gray area.” Peter Marks, The New York Times
“Spalding Gray may be the nation's most outstanding storyteller. Nothing eludes his eye or the sureness of his satire. The secret of his success is the skewed angle of vision--his eccentric wit and ruthless candor.” Los Angeles Times
An avalanche of shallow solipsisms as the veteran monologist takes to the slopes and learns to ski.
Artists who plumb their lives for their work run the grave risk of using up all their best material and being reduced to diary trivialities and fire-sale reminiscences. Gray (Impossible Vacation, 1992, etc.) has seemed to be headed in this direction for a while; now he is finally there. He tries to freight everything with meaningweighing skiing down with a series of pompous metaphors about existencebut this only amplifies the base banalities that threaten at every turn. "In order to be in control, you have to be out of control. . . . It's the first leap of faith that I've ever had in my life." As he stumbles along, he tries to drag in his mother's suicide, his unexpected fatherhood, and the breakup of his long-term relationship/marriage. The descriptions of this last item are as painful as any skiing injury, as Gray alternates self-justifying contrition with the kind of analysis you'd expect from a third-rate shrink. After he fathers a child with the "other woman" and his marriage disintegrates, Gray has an epiphany on the slopes that is almost startling in its egocentrism and moral obtuseness: "I thought I was going to self-destruct and instead I helped bring new life into the world. I gave myself a big high five, and I thought, You know, I've returned to New England and I'm no longer a puritan." The monologue style, with its frequent repetitions and digressions, makes all this even more awkward. What may work well before an audience just seems uncontrolled on paper.
This snow job should shake the devotion of even Gray's most steadfast fans.