Browsing: In Search of Lost Time

January – February, 2010

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THE HOUR BETWEEN turned into several hours of guilty pleasure. Sebastian Stuart’s coming-of-age story, set in a private, residential high school, brings together Arthur and Katrina, the Will and Grace of secondary education. (He’s gay and she’s flighty.) Their maturing process is set against the battle of administrators at the school.

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In the introduction to her fascinating study, James Baldwin’s Turkish Decade, Magdalena Zaborowska opens with a striking quote from the writer: “Perhaps only someone who is outside of the States realizes that it’s impossible to get out.”

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On balance, the biggest difference between the two books is their readability. Hart’s memoir is lighter and easier going, a book that you want to read to the end. Agabian’s book, while well-written and insightful, could have ended forty pages before it did. Both are worthwhile contributions to the growing body of personal memoirs from everyday people with an exceptional past.

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