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A Washington Post Notable Work of Nonfiction An NPR Best Book of 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo turns to memoir in this hilarious and bittersweet account of his lifelong bond with his high-strung, spirited mother—and the small town she spent her life trying to escape. Anyone familiar with Russo’s novels will recognize Gloversville—once famous for producing nine out of ten dress gloves in the United States. By the time Rick was born, ladies had stopped wearing gloves and Gloversville was on its way out. Jean Russo instilled in her son her dream of a better life elsewhere, a dream that prompted her to follow him across the country when he went to college. Their adventures and tribulations on that road trip were a preview of the hold his mother would continue to have on him as she kept trying desperately to change her life. Recounted with a clear-eyed mix of regret, nostalgia, and love, Elsewhere is a stirring tribute to the tenacious grip of the past.
This work is the author's memoir of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape. Anyone familiar with the author's fiction will recognize Gloversville, New York, once famous for producing that eponymous product and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a good-time, second-fiddle father who were born into this close-knit community. But by the time of his childhood in the 1950s, prosperity was inexorably being replaced by poverty and illness (often tannery-related), everyone barely scraping by under a very low horizon. A world elsewhere was the dream his mother instilled in Rick, and strived for herself, and their subsequent adventures and tribulations, recounted here, only to prove lifelong, as would Gloversville's fearsome grasp on them both.
Presents a personal account of the author's youth, his parents, and the 1950s upstate New York town they struggled to escape, recounting the encroaching poverty and illness that challenged everyday life and the dreams his mother instilled that inspired his career.
Like a gale at her back, history propelled Julia Israel Schueler early in life on a westward course. She was born in Moscow in 1923 and at the age of three months was exiled with her parents and other Mensheviks to Berlin. Twice more "The Group" was displaced - to Paris in 1933 as Adolf Hitler intensified the persecution of political opponents, and to the United States, via Spain and Lisbon, when he invaded France in 1940. Elsewhere is Schueler's life memoir, an adventure, coming-of-age, and coming-to-America story all in one. Against the gripping backdrop of major twentieth-century events, she tells in lyrical prose her personal tale of immigration and acculturation, and the ongoing search for an elusive home "elsewhere." Schueler revisits memories of school days in Germany; streets blood-stained from an early version of Kristallnachtand the admonishment "You saw nothing"; nostalgia for socialist songs of youth; reading banned books by Balzac and Zola; a wardrobe of castoff, made-over clothes; the shock of seeing Paris in blackout; scenes of civil war-ravaged Spain; tears of guilt in Times Square on New Year's Eve 1940; and much more. She introduces a parade of intriguing individuals, including her imaginative, romantic schoolmate Vivi, the niece of Leon Trotsky; Mr. Wittenberg, a close family acquaintance who spoke Esperanto; Dina, the daring young friend who ran away to become a model for the sculptor Aristide Maillol; and refugees from Stalinist gulags and German concentration camps. Elsewhere will draw readers into a delightful intimacy with the author as they follow her suspenseful passage from impressionable childhood through vibrant youth to graceful maturity, to finding home at last in New Orleans. For the past forty years, Julia Schueler has lived in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans - "my springboard to fly out to far-off places, always to come back refreshed, renewed, and happy to call it home." She taught German and French there for over twenty years and then launched a second career as a trilingual tour guide and lecturer.
John Nathan arrived in Tokyo in 1961 fresh out of Harvard College, bringing with him no practical experience, no more than two connections, no prospects, and little else to recommend him but stoic, unflappable pluck. Japan at that time was still in the shadow of the Occupation, and only a handful of foreigners were studying the country seriously. Two years later, Nathan became the first American to pass the entrance exams to the best school in Japan, the University of Tokyo. He went on to translate two of Japan's greatest contemporary writers, Yukio Mishima and Nobel laureate Kenzaburõ Õe, and direct several series of films in and about Japan in collaboration with world-famous directors and businesses; earn an advanced degree at Harvard and a professorship at Princeton; and become a Hollywood screenwriter. Nathan was given unprecedented access to the inner sanctum of Sony for his book Sony: The Private Life, and he explored the damaged psyche of postbubble Japan in his acclaimed Japan Unbound. During his decades of passionate engagement with Japan, Nathan became close friends with many of the most gifted people in the land -- politicians and business leaders as well as painters, novelists, directors, rock stars, and movie stars -- and was privileged to travel, in their very special company, inside domains of Japanese life not normally open to foreigners then or now. In his unique chronicle of that journey, Living Carelessly in Tokyo and Elsewhere, he details the adventures sublime, profane, and uproarious, many of a distinctly Japanese nature, that characterized his career, which was singular in its success as much as in its chaos. Along the way, he brings the most exciting era in recent Japanese history vividly into focus with wry humor, penetrating insight, and pathos. John Nathan is not the only foreigner to have developed a rich, full, deeply nuanced understanding of Japan. But his experiences are certainly extraordinary and in fact irreproducible, and his memoir is the most personally satisfying story yet told of Japan (and elsewhere). From Nathan's lifetime of wisdom, compassion, and brazen resolve, we learn the value of traveling within our own mental and emotional borders as well as without the many places we call home.
After eight commanding works of fiction, the Pulitzer Prize winner now turns to memoir in a hilarious, moving, and always surprising account of his life, his parents, and the upstate New York town they all struggled variously to escape. Anyone familiar with Richard Russo's acclaimed novels will recognize Gloversville once famous for producing that eponymous product and anything else made of leather. This is where the author grew up, the only son of an aspirant mother and a charming, feckless father who were born into this close-knit community. But by the time of his childhood in the 1950s, prosperity was inexorably being replaced by poverty and illness (often tannery-related), with everyone barely scraping by under a very low horizon. A world elsewhere was the dream his mother instilled in Rick, and strived for herself, and their subsequent adventures and tribulations in achieving that goal—beautifully recounted here—were to prove lifelong, as would Gloversville's fearsome grasp on them both. Fraught with the timeless dynamic of going home again, encompassing hopes and fears and the relentless tides of familial and individual complications, this story is arresting, comic, heartbreaking, and truly beautiful, an immediate classic. From Booklist Pulitzer Prize–winning author Russo brings the same clear-eyed humanism that marks his fiction to this by turns funny and moving portrait of his high-strung mother and her never-ending quest to escape the provincial confines of their hometown of Gloversville, New York. All of her life, she clung to the notion that she was an independent woman, despite the fact that she couldn’t drive, lived upstairs from her parents, and readily accepted their money to keep her household afloat. She finally escaped her deteriorating hometown, which went bust when the local tannery shut down, by moving to Arizona with her 18-year-old son when he left for college and following him across the country right up until her death. His comical litany of her long list of anxieties, from the smell of cooking oil to her fruitless quest for the perfect apartment, is a testament to his forbearance but also to his ability to make her such a vivid presence in these pages. Part of what makes this such a profound tribute to her is precisely because he sees her so clearly, flaws and all. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Prizewinning author Richard Russo’s many fans will be lining up for his first nonfiction work, which has generated considerable prepublication buzz. --Joanne Wilkinson Review “A gorgeously nuanced memoir about Russo’s mother and his own lifelong tour of duty spent—lovingly and exhaustedly—looking out for her. . . . Russo is the Bruce Springsteen of novelists . . . in a paragraph or even a phrase, he can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.” —Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air “Moving and darkly funny. . . Russo mines grace from his gritty hometown [and] the greatest charm of this memoir lies in the absences of self-pity and pretension in his take on his own history.” —Amy Finnerty, The Wall Street Journal “Heartfelt and generous.” —Tricia Springstubb, Cleveland Plain Dealer “One of the most honest, moving American memoirs in years... Russo's straightforward writing style is even more effective in Elsewhere [and his] intellectual and emotional honesty are remarkable.” —Michael Schaub, NPR.org “Rich and layered... an honest book about a universal subject: those familial bonds that only get trickier with time.” —Kevin Canfield, Minneapolis Star Tribune “Russo conjures the incredible bond between single mother and only child in a way that makes his story particularly powerful.” —Nicholas Mancusi, The Daily Beast “Russo brings the same clear-eyed humanism that marks his fiction to this by turns funny and moving portrait of his mother and her never-ending quest to escape the provincial confines of their hometown.” —Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist “An affecting yet never saccharine glimpse of the relationship among place, family and fiction.” —Kirkus
Sir Hugh Cortazzi, one of Britain's most prominent post-war Ambassadors to Japan who was in Tokyo to receive Margaret Thatcher on her historic 'handbagging' visit in 1982, was never a so-called 'traditional' diplomat.Having gained entry to the Foreign Service in 1949 his diplomatic life was hardly 'conventional'; it was most certainly, at times, controversial -- from London to Bonn, to Washington (at the time of Watergate) but principally Japan where he undertook three tours of duty, the last as Ambassador, 1980-84. After retiring from the Diplomatic Service, he became a high-profile Chairman of the Japan Society in 1985, a post he held for ten years. This memoir is a real tour de force, providing the reader with an informed, critical perspective on world affairs in general, but with a particular emphasis on Japan.

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