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  1 The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered
Author: Taylor, Benjamin Biographee: Taylor, Benjamin
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Class: 813.54
Age: Adult
Language: English
LC: PS3570.A
Print Run: 40000
ISBN-13: 9780143131649
LCCN: 2016049441
Imprint: Penguin Books
Pub Date: 05/23/2017
Availability: Available
List: $16.00
  Trade Paper
Physical Description: xx, 182 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm H 7.7", W 5.1", D 0.5", 0.43 lbs.
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's Insight Catalog: Adult
Brodart's TOP Paperback Titles
Bibliographies: Public Library Core Collection: Nonfiction, 17th ed.
Awards: Booklist Starred Reviews
Library Journal Starred Reviews
Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners
Starred Reviews: Booklist
Library Journal
TIPS Subjects: Writing/Journalism/Publishing
Biography, Individual
BISAC Subjects: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
LC Subjects: Authors, American, 20th century, Biography
Kennedy, John F., (John Fitzgerald),, 1917-1963, Assassination
Taylor, Benjamin,, 1952-
SEARS Subjects: Authors, Biography
Reading Programs:
Brodart's TOP Paperback Titles | 05/01/2017
Publisher Annotation: A memoir of one tumultuous year of boyhood in Fort Worth, Texas, opening with a handshake with JFK, and recalling the changes and revelations of the months that followed. (Original), 208pp.
Starred Reviews:
Booklist | 04/01/2017
It starts with a handshake. It's November 22, 1963, in Ft. Worth, Texas; the hands belong, respectively, to dazzled 11-year-old Benjamin Taylor and John F. Kennedy, "this Apollo," as Taylor describes him, "with his copper-colored hair, blue eyes, and tanned complexion." Later that same day, the president would be assassinated. Their brief encounter, however, is the jumping-off point for Taylor's lovely, gorgeously written memoir of the year that followed and of the hue and cry at his family's house "against disorder, bedevilment, despair." These seem to have gained little lasting purchase in Taylor's young life, though that life was, in a sense, compromised by his then-undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome, his budding homosexuality, and the odd encounter with anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, he is in love with the past, "a world blown away like smoke and ash, but to which I have the most precise and intimate access." The future, he later observes, "is dark, the present a knife's edge. It's the past that is knowable, incandescent, real." It's Taylor's gift to readers to make that past hauntingly real for them, too, without the taint of nostalgia, which, he wisely argues, "lies." The truth is that this memoir is an unforgettable sharing of one boy's life that contains universal truths in a style that demands to be quoted. "Memory is aesthetic," he claims, and this book is proof of it. YA: Teens will be enchanted by this lovely book. Cart, Michael. 208p. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2017.
Library Journal | 04/15/2017
This wonderfully tangential memoir from nonfiction author (Proust: The Search), novelist (The Book of Getting Even), and writing professor (New School Graduate Sch. of Writing; Columbia Univ.) Taylor covers much more than a year in the author's life. We learn about his parents and grandparents, his upbringing in Forth Worth, TX, his undiagnosed Asperger's, his passion for literature, and that he shook John F. Kennedy's hand on the day the president was assassinated. Taylor seems incapable of sticking to one subject for long, and therefore, we reap the benefits. This slim memoir boggles the mind with so much life covered in so few words, teaching us much about our own lives in the process. VERDICT This marvelous memoir will appeal to anyone who loves good stories and interesting lives. (Memoir, 3/15/17; Derek Sanderson, Mount Saint Mary Coll., Newburgh, NY. 208p. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2017.
Journal Reviews
BookPage | 06/06/2017
We all recall one momentous event in our lives that dramatically altered our direction and violently shook our sense of self, shaping us in myriad ways. In his absorbing and lovely The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered, Benjamin Taylor recalls such an event, using it as the tantalizing entry point to his memories of growing up gay and Jewish in Texas. Early on the morning of November 22, 1963, 11-year-old Taylor gets to shake President John F. Kennedy's hand in Fort Worth, Texas. Later that day, he hears the news that Kennedy has been assassinated. In achingly gorgeous prose, Taylor reflects on the incongruity of these two moments, which leads to childhood remembrances of making and losing friends, his discovery of a love of politics and playwriting, and his halting lessons in the ways that families sometimes fall apart. He writes about his family with a clear-eyed vision: "The hue and cry at our house was against disorder, bedevilment, despair." In this memoir, Taylor pulls his family and his young life from the shores of forgetting, and he tells us he's heaped up this "monument because my family--Annette, Sol, Tommy, Robby too--have vanished and I cannot allow oblivion to own them altogether." Although his memoir sometimes moves confusingly between 1963 and 1964 and the present, Taylor nevertheless captivates with his vibrant recollections of immense moments and the life that grew out of them. Henry L Carrigan Jr. BookPageXTRA Online Review. BOOKPAGE, c2017.
Kirkus Reviews | 03/15/2017
Taylor (Proust: The Search, 2015, etc.) leans on gay and Jewish perspectives to craft a memoir of 1963-1964, with the touchstones of his youth still resonating today.The author, who teaches at Columbia University and the New School's Graduate School, may be revered for his work, but this slender volume is somewhat less than the sum of its parts. "Trusting to what comes handiest," there is lovely, atmospheric writing and a deft interplay of his former and current selves. Taylor is erudite, often eloquent, and eminently quotable, though occasionally he exudes a whiff of the effete. Random recollections defy immediate connection, and though the author usually gets around to tying the thread, we are sometimes left wondering what the point may have been. He reveals a cozy childhood and valiant parents, wherein no familial scourge--alcoholism, madness, discord, abuse--found a purchase. Nor was money an issue for this largely secular Jewish family of Texas, not after his father made a killing in the market. Perhaps to a fault, Taylor celebrates the past. His mantra: memory clarifies while nostalgia obscures. But are not they forged of similar materials, and is memory not just as prone to gloss? It seems that what has departed from his life feels more substantial to him than what remains, that he is more active in memory than in life, and that he prefers the "sunlit, lavishly hospitable past" to a present that seems insubstantial. His successful life in letters and in academe would seem to belie this self-consciously literary wish to inhabit the past. In certain areas, the author is off the mark, not least in his too-narrow definition of what constituted "the Sixties" and in a cynical dismissal of "privileged" Vietnam War protestors. An occasionally problematic but mostly sage memoir from an elegant writer. 208pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2017.
Publishers Weekly | 03/13/2017
Taylor (Proust: The Search), a writing professor at Manhattan's New School and Columbia University, recalls the eventful year that began with the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Detailed, clear-eyed memories pour forth onto the pages of this slender volume. At the time, Taylor was a frail sixth grader who had just received a cherished handshake from J.F.K. outside a Fort Worth hotel. That moment of grace was followed by the shocking news of his death, the body lying in state in the Capitol, the killing of his assassin, and the solemn state funeral. Wrapping himself in a cozy remembrance of his well-meaning parents and his doomed older brother, Tommy, Taylor is hardest on himself, a sly, asthmatic boy later diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Historic and cultural incidents dot the crackling narrative, including the Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, the Clay vs. Liston fight, A-bomb shelters, civil rights protests, and the Patty Duke TV show. Taylor, a lyrical wordsmith, broadens the usual boundaries of memoir writing with his analysis of time and childhood: "What has happened cannot happen again." In this skillful blend of dialogue between youth and maturity, Taylor sums up the value and quality of the years of his treasured past and unforgettable present, while stressing the sanctity of life. (May). 208p. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2017.
Review Citations
New York Times Book Review | 07/09/2017