My Sky Blue Trades by Sven Birkerts
Growing Up Counter in a Contrary Time

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In The Gutenburg Elegies, a widely acclaimed New York Times Notable Book, Sven Birkerts won attention as a graceful and thoughtful essayist, an eloquent advocate of literature in an age of electronic media. Now he shows what only literature can do, in a moving, compelling, brilliantly written memoir that probes what it means to be an American with roots in a distant culture.

As a boy growing up in suburban Detroit, Birkerts always felt intensely uncomfortable with his family's ties to Latvia-the birthplace of all four of his grandparents. And yet his struggle to find his own path led inexorably back through the overgrown garden of family lore. Birkerts deftly weaves his own history (from struggles with his overbearing father to adventures at Woodstock, from lost loves to his emergence as a writer) with episodes from his ancestors' lives-scenes from Riga and Moscow during the Russian Revolution, tales of Paris and mistresses and family scandals. My Sky Blue Trades is destined to be a classic exploration of the immigrant experience and the writer's inner life.

About Sven Birkerts

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Published August 26, 2002 by Viking Adult. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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Central to the picture is his father, an explosive taskmaster, although “the explosion is nothing compared to the ongoing expectation of the explosion.” Birkerts rebels, in part because everyone else his age is: “We had all, it seemed, tuned in to FM radio at the same time, gotten fired up by the...

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Publishers Weekly

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The literary world isn't lacking for memoirs about growing up, especially lately, but it could certainly use more like Birkerts's.

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Star Tribune

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Review: In this understated, heart-tugging and often hilarious memoir, an eminent literary critic writes of his Midwestern youth in the 1960s and '70s.

Aug 24 2002 | Read Full Review of My Sky Blue Trades: Growing U...

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