Kiss and Tell

7.7 20人评价

阿兰·德波顿 / / Picador / 288 pages页 / Paperback / GBP 6.99 / 1996-4

Kiss and Tell的内容简介

Amazon.com
Alain de Botton has crafted a delightfully ingenious novel in the form of a biography of an unknown woman. Told by a former flame that he lacks empathy, the engaging narrator of Kiss & Tell decides to write a book about the next person he meets. This turns out to be Isabel Rogers, a production assistant at a London stationery company. The sincere effort of this would-be Boswell to make this ordinary woman fascinating cause him to fall in love with her, causing a shift in his writing from an examination of Isabel's life to a minutely-detailed account of his relationship with her. Alain de Botton's earlier work, The Romantic Movement, garnered praise from John Updike and Pico Iyer, who called him "a Stendhal of the 90's dating scene." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
"Dental work on," "first kiss" and "new hairstyle" can all be found under the index entries for Isabel Rogers, the charming, unsuspecting subject of this diverting fictional biography. De Botton plays a nimble game, through the eyes and idiosyncrasies of his smart, pretentious narrator. Looking for an opportunity to explore the nature of biography without being overshadowed by his subject, the narrator attaches himself to a woman he thinks will be mundane enough to be fully mastered. To play off the appealing if thoroughly normal Isabel, de Botton (The Romantic Movement) makes his narrator as fastidious as any of Nicholson Baker's and as smarmily self-absorbed as one of Martin Amis's. But the ordinary details of Isabel's ordinary life?she is 28, a production assistant in London?prove more than enough to handle, and the narrator, who likes to quote Dr. Johnson and Richard Ellman, finds that the high-brow rigors of formal biography have to make concessions to the unruliness of lived life. Inevitably in this comic relationship, the narrator digresses too often, experimenting with handwriting analysis, palmistry and psychiatric questionnaires before he realizes that he is missing a very different kind of understanding of Isabel. Deftly, de Botton manages to flesh out the character of Isabel within the parameters of what is?in every sense?his narrator's pseudo-intellectual conceit. In the manner of Carol Shield's The Stone Diaries, photos of "Isabel" and her family add a droll touch.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Booklist
After an ex-girlfriend accuses the narrator of being a narcissist, he decides to find out as much as possible about the next person he meets. Fortunately she, in the form of Isabel Jane Rogers, proves to be a woman of many layers. Intrigued by the biographer's mission, the unnamed narrator plunges into Isabel's life, creating a laundry list of minutiae--such as how she learned to make the figure 8, her first bubble bath, candies eaten as a child, and how she cleans her apartment to The Best of Blondie music--all to gain insight, reformulate prejudices, and grow empathic. Along the way, he consults other biographies for direction. An index (unusual in a fictional work) draws out details from the lives of Samuel Johnson, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce, among others. Readers who enjoy biographies must not miss Kiss & Tell. It provides insight into the genre while also presenting bit by nonchronological bit the ordinary albeit captivating life of Isabel Jane Rogers. Jennifer Henderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
A young, self-centered British swain vows to get to know the next woman he meets better than she knows herself, in de Botton's self-consciously coy follow-up to On Love (1993) and The Romantic Movement (1995). ``It took me a long time to . . . understand how someone could have been so un-self-aware and at the same time so self-obsessed,'' reads the narrator's most recent Dear John letter. ``You said you loved me, but a narcissist can't love anyone but himself.'' Miffed by the accusation, de Botton's intellectual hero determines not just to pay more attention to the next woman he meets but to immerse himself in her life as assiduously as a biographer studies his subject. Ordinary as that randomly picked woman turns out to be--pretty, 25-year-old Isabel Rogers is a production assistant for a stationery company--our hero earnestly commits to paper every thought she expresses, every casual mannerism, every minor anecdote about her childhood, in the hopes of proving himself worthy of love. At first, Isabel is flattered by such attention, though she wisely attributes her biographer's attentions to ordinary lust. As the months pass and the narrator charts Isabel's ancestral tree, challenges her with personality quizzes, and gravely ponders such inscrutable utterances as ``I know I should read more, but TV is easier. I should love people who are nice to me, but grumps are more of a challenge . . . I want to have babies, but I'm frightened of becoming my mother,'' he increasingly gets on her nerves- -proving, inevitably, that too much attention can be as irritating as too little. ``And I think we should stop seeing one another as well,'' Isabel continues. ``But unfortunately I can't be sure about that either. I don't know any more, all right?'' Having stuck with this one-joke plot that is, like its narrator, amusing and tedious by turns, readers will understand her fond impatience all too well. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Review
"Original, intelligent, and beguiling . . . You will get more than pure pleasure from reading...you may never again look at biography in quite the same way."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World
"This ingenious, and even wise, novel elicits an almost continuous smile."—The New Yorker
"An impressively ambitious book . . . More than just an offbeat romantic comedy--it's a provocative meditation on the essence of personality and the nature of the biographer's task."—Michael Upchurch, The San Francisco Chronicle
"Playful and adroit...a sometimes essayistic, often funny meditation on biographical form which has at its root universal and problematic questions of how we know ourselves, and how we begin to understand others."—Sara Kramer, Boston Review
"Shows ingenuity. De Botton makes some witty and arch observations about the twentysomething English generation and its culture. Isabel may be alarmingly ordinary, but in his hands she is also fascinating."—Greg Morago, The Hartford Courant
"Engaging and delightful...Such a writer could write the biography of a broomstick, as Dr. Johnson suggested, and it would come alive under his pen."—Philip Glazebrook, The Spectator
"Rich, intelligent, and finely written...Alain De Botton provides not merely an engaging suburban love story, but a lip-smackingly irreverent take on the entire biographical genre."—Paul Sussman, The Independent on Sunday
"Brilliantly erudite and amusing...De Botton is the boy wonder of contemporary English literature. What gives his novels their considerable charm is his winning combination of candor and intellect."—The Tatler
"Genuinely funny...perceptive...cheerfully wrought...De Botton's prose is an arm wrestle of erudition with popular culture...His writing is endearing, not in the least remote, and attempts to return value and sophistication to a currency--the ever-Austenesque minuet of courtship and love."—Rachel Cusk, The Times
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"Happy . . . clever debunking of biographical objectivity."—James Atlas, Vogue
Review
"Original, intelligent, and beguiling . . . You will get more than pure pleasure from reading...you may never again look at biography in quite the same way."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World
"This ingenious, and even wise, novel elicits an almost continuous smile."—The New Yorker
"An impressively ambitious book . . . More than just an offbeat romantic comedy--it's a provocative meditation on the essence of personality and the nature of the biographer's task."—Michael Upchurch, The San Francisco Chronicle
"Playful and adroit...a sometimes essayistic, often funny meditation on biographical form which has at its root universal and problematic questions of how we know ourselves, and how we begin to understand others."—Sara Kramer, Boston Review
"Shows ingenuity. De Botton makes some witty and arch observations about the twentysomething English generation and its culture. Isabel may be alarmingly ordinary, but in his hands she is also fascinating."—Greg Morago, The Hartford Courant
"Engaging and delightful...Such a writer could write the biography of a broomstick, as Dr. Johnson suggested, and it would come alive under his pen."—Philip Glazebrook, The Spectator
"Rich, intelligent, and finely written...Alain De Botton provides not merely an engaging suburban love story, but a lip-smackingly irreverent take on the entire biographical genre."—Paul Sussman, The Independent on Sunday
"Brilliantly erudite and amusing...De Botton is the boy wonder of contemporary English literature. What gives his novels their considerable charm is his winning combination of candor and intellect."—The Tatler
"Genuinely funny...perceptive...cheerfully wrought...De Botton's prose is an arm wrestle of erudition with popular culture...His writing is endearing, not in the least remote, and attempts to return value and sophistication to a currency--the ever-Austenesque minuet of courtship and love."—Rachel Cusk, The Times
"Happy . . . clever debunking of biographical objectivity."—James Atlas, Vogue
Product Description
Dr. Samuel Johnson observed that everyone's life is a subject worthy of the biographer's art. Accused by a former girlfriend of being unable to empathize, the narrator of Kiss & Tell takes Johnson's idea to heart and decides to write about the next person who walks into his life.
He meets Isabel Rogers, a production assistant at a small stationery company in London, apparently an ordinary woman. But as the biographer's understanding of Isabel deepens, she becomes remarkable. Her smallest quirks, private habits, and opinions become worthy of the most painstaking investigation—and unexpectedly attractive to her biographer.

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