Fatigue Artist by Lynne Sharon Schwartz

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The Fatigue Artist is a refreshingly candid story
about life, love, and survival in the contemporary
world. A writer living in New York City, Laura is
overwhelmed by a mysterious lethargy and retreats
to her bed where she reflects on the loves and losses
of her recent past and seeks the cure to her perplexing

Fortified by the Eastern teachings of her Tai Chi
instructor and the nurturing attentions of friends
and a acupuncturist, Laura crawls out of her
somnambulism with intelligent determination in search
of peace and resurrection. The Fatigue Artist is
both a moving chronicle of a woman's search for
meaning and a wry depiction of modern urban life.

About Lynne Sharon Schwartz

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Lynne Sharon Schwartz Lynne Sharon Schwartz grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1950s, in a middle-class family. Her father was a tax lawyer, her mother a homemaker. Strongly influenced by her immigrant grandparents, Schwartz had a large, extended family with strong traditions and European values. As a child, she remembers noticing the details of things -- conversations, emotion, faces. By age seven, she was a writer, her themes were often philosophical and moral. "I wrote one about how the world came into being," she says. "And it was a kind of a deist vision of God who was...a kind scientist....I wasn't a genius or anything, I mean, I wrote like a seven-year old. But I thought about things. And my parents were wonderful. They encouraged me." With a Bachelor's degree from Barnard and a Master's degree from Bryn Mawr, Schwartz completed her course work for a Doctorate in comparative literature, when her life changed direction. She says, "I was just about to write my thesis, in 1972, and I couldn't face it; every topic I thought of was no good, and every time I went down in the NYU stacks I'd just get sick. Then suddenly it dawned on me: I was a little over thirty, and if I was going to write, I'd better write. I had thought it would happen -- I would wake up one day and be a writer -- but I didn't do it. That has a lot to do with the way women are brought up: you expect that things will happen to you, not that you should go and pursue them. So I dropped the Ph.D., went home, and wrote." For many years she wrote short stories, and in 1972 was approached by an editor who suggested she string a series of shorts stories together into a longer novel. The result was her brilliantly acclaimed first novel, Rough Strife, an intimate psychological portrait of a marriage in trouble. Perhaps because of her family background, as well as her years of studying European literature, Schwartz feels an affinity to 19th-century writers. Marcel Proust and Henry James are her literary idols and she was also influenced by the poets, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Keats. "The way they use language has remained in my ear," she says, "and in my writing I try to keep a sense of the stages the language has passed through, and the way poets use it." She acknowledges that she is going against the current literary trend with its spare style but isn't particularly concerned about the criticism. She says, "I can't write that way because I simply don't see life that way. For me, every gesture, every sentence, every interaction is taught with meaning, with layers of complexity, and I can't write as if that weren't true."The Fatigue Artist is Schwartz's fifth novel, and her most autobiographical. In 1991, after a period of great stress, she found herself sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. For three or four months, she lay in bed with only the strength to talk on the phone. In many ways, the calls were life sustaining, and as she gradually felt better. She began to write down the anecdotes and stories her friends told her, as well as her own observations of what was going on around her in the contemporary world. Determined to use what life had to offer, she turned the illness into a witty and humorous novel of introspection and healing. "When I noticed all these...things happening around me, I kept thinking, I'll use it, I'll use it," she says. "It's not going to be a waste of time. I have a friend, a very old, close friend, and whenever we're going through anything difficult, we say to each other, 'Why worry? Why? Some day all of this will become literature.'" Lynne Sharon Schwartz currently lives in New York City with her husband and has taught writing and literature at Columbia, Boston, and Rice universities and at the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. She has received numerous awards, and has been given grants for her fiction by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her newest book, Ruined by Reading, will be published in May.OTHER WORKS BY LYNNE SHARON SCHWARTZ:Rough StrifeBalancing ActsDisturbances in the FieldLeaving BrooklynA Lynne Sharon Schwartz Reader:Selected Prose and PoetryThe Melting Pot and Other Subversive StoriesAquatinted with the NightReading Group Discussion PointsOther Books With Reading Group Guides
Published December 13, 2011 by Scribner. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Fiction

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When Laura finally visits a doctor, she learns it actually is an illness that has downed her, a form of chronic fatigue virus, for which the doctor can offer no prescription beyond ``get plenty of rest.'' Rest she does, in her own restless way, seeking help from an acupuncturist and a tai chi tea...

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Publishers Weekly

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One doctor observes that Laura's illness is the result of ``modern life''--``The environment's messed up, the air, the food.'' An alternative medical diagnosis, based on the Chinese concept of chi, is not much more helpful, suggesting that Laura's organs are in an ``unbalanced condition'' but wil...

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Publishers Weekly

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A woman begins suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome following the sudden death of her husband.

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Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed This book centers around Laura, a 40-year-old novelist living in Manhattan.

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