An Involuntary Genius in America's Shoes by Andrei Codrescu
(And What Happened Afterwards)

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In New York City in 1969, Andrei Codrescu, a Romanian poet just beginning to master the American vernacular, began writing The Life & Times of an Involuntary Genius (1975), a memoir of antic Communist youth now recognized as a classic of comic self-creation. "There I was, twenty-three years old, the possessor of a wealth of experience which had already spawned an equal if not greater quantity of mythicizing anecdotes."

Anecdote 1: He was the intellectual love child of Transylvania's great culture heroes, Dracula and Ionesco, twin totems of the Immortal and the Absurd. Anecdote 2: He was a political exile from Communist Europe, and everyone knows that all exiles are geniuses. A later anecdote the one about the enormous file the INS had collected on him and his left-wing Neo-Beat activities provides the subject of the sequel, In America's Shoes (1983), the mock epic of his quest to become a U.S. citizen.

This new book collects both of Codrescu's memoirs, together with the now-middle-aged author's wry notes on the young man who wrote them. While traveling the road from the Balkan forest to the land of the free, he writes, "I never abandoned my rebellious Romanian generation, within which I'd been raised a baby dissident destined for great things and prison. I just put on a cape ' a Dracula cape, with a star-spangled lining ' to complete the picture."


About Andrei Codrescu

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Andrei Codrescu is an author of poetry, novels, and essays, the founder of Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Life and Letters, and has broadcast regular commentary for NPR since 1983. He was the recipient of a Peabody Award for his film Road Scholar, the Ovid Prize for poetry, and the ACLU Freedom of Speech Award.
Published July 1, 2001 by Black Sparrow Press. 356 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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An Involuntary Genius in America's Shoes (and What Happened Afterwards) usefully gathers together two of Andrei Codrescu's earlier memoirs, the 1975 Life & Times of an Involuntary Genius and the 1983 In America's Shoes, along with a new preface and afterword.

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