An Improvised Life by Alan Arkin
A Memoir

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Synopsis

Alan Arkin knew he was going to be an actor from the age of five: "Every film I saw, every play, every piece of music fed an unquenchable need to turn myself into something other than what I was." An Improvised Life is the Oscar winner's wise and unpretentious recollection of the process--artistic and personal--of becoming an actor, and a revealing look into the creative mind of one of the best practitioners on stage or screen. In a manner that is direct, down-to-earth, accessible, and articulate, Arkin reveals insights not only about himself (and his audience and students), but also truths for the rest of us about work, relationships, and sense of self.
 

About Alan Arkin

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Alan Arkin was born in New York and attended Los Angeles City College and Bennington College. He is an award-winning actor and author who has starred in films, plays, and television shows. His books include: "The Lemming Condition, The Clearing, " and "Some Fine Grandpa!" He lives in Weston, CT.
 
Published March 1, 2011 by Da Capo Press. 216 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for An Improvised Life

Kirkus Reviews

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The famous funnyman gets serious about his profession.

Feb 15 2011 | Read Full Review of An Improvised Life: A Memoir

Publishers Weekly

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More a reflection on acting than a straightforward memoir, Academy Award–winner Arkin's musing on the creative process is a welcome window into the mind of an artist.

Jan 10 2011 | Read Full Review of An Improvised Life: A Memoir

BC Books

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It was after years of self scrutiny that living an “examined life” became his main goal, and acting became an expression of that pursuit.

Mar 11 2011 | Read Full Review of An Improvised Life: A Memoir

New York Journal of Books

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Mr. Arkin says, “There was no struggle involved, no mountain to climb.” The insight that acting could be fun and still honest and professional was a moment of enlightenment to Mr. Arkin who points out that previously, “I had to work my ass off to get into some kind of state, into the zone, shot b...

Mar 02 2011 | Read Full Review of An Improvised Life: A Memoir

AV Club

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Billed as a memoir, Alan Arkin’s An Improvised Life is something wispier: a series of discrete anecdotes from across his career, meant to point toward larger truths about acting and life.

Mar 10 2011 | Read Full Review of An Improvised Life: A Memoir

PopMatters

By the time he gets to the therapy and New Age mysticism—which he does rather quickly—even the most dedicated Arkin fan, film buff or aspiring artist might themselves feel bemused.

Mar 20 2011 | Read Full Review of An Improvised Life: A Memoir

Seattle PI

At only 191 pages, An Improvised Life is not a long book but there is a wealth of life experience in those pages.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of An Improvised Life: A Memoir

Culture Brats

His unquenchable thirst for all things related to film, music, acting, and the arts turned quickly to compulsion, setting him down a path that would result in a long list of impressive accomplishments and personal satisfaction with a few gut-wrenching disappointments along the way.

Jun 14 2011 | Read Full Review of An Improvised Life: A Memoir

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