Passing By by Jerzy Kosinski
Selected Essays 1962-1991

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Synopsis

Jerzy Kosinski is one of the most important and original writers of our times. Passing By serves as his legacy, a collection of writings that answers many questions about his work and offers a revealing and provocative self-portrait by an author whose life was shrouded in enigma.

The man who emerges here has a passion for sport, a quirky sense of fun, an idiosyncratic range of acquaintances stretching from Pope John Paul II to Warren Beatty, and an abiding love of secrets, conundrums, and fantasies. But first and foremost, as he demonstrates in major essays on his novels The Painted Bird and Steps, Kosinski is a powerful, incomparable literary artist.
 

About Jerzy Kosinski

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Jerzy Kosinski, 1933 - 1991 Novelist Jerzy Kosinski was born June 8, 1933, in Poland to Russian parents who had fled the Revolution. In 1939, he was separated from his family when the Nazi's invaded, and he wandered through villages for six years, surviving by his wits. In shock, he remained mute from the age of nine to fourteen. He was finally reunited with his family and attains a professorship at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. In 1957, Kosinski arrived in New York with his Polish passport, little money and a cyanide capsule after creating four fictional professors who recommend him for a nonexistent foundation grant. He learned to speak fluent English in four months and within a year, had begun work on a study of the collective mentality called "The Future is Ours, Comrade." He published this under the pen name Joseph Novak and had his writing recommended to him by fellow students at Columbia University. He won the National Book Award for the novel "Steps" and his other novels include "Being There, "The Devil Tree," "Cockpit," and "Blind Date." "Blind Date" tells the story of the Manson killings, which is where Kosinski would have been, with his friends on Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, if he had not been stuck in JFK Airport dealing with mis-tagged luggage. He writes about the killings not because they were his friends, but to show how unpredictable life is. In 1968, after six years of marriage, his wife Mary died of brain cancer. He committed suicide on May 3, 1991 at the age of 58.
 
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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That Jewish culture specific to Poland--the one country on earth where prewar Jews could develop and insulate themselves without fear of pogroms--has not reappeared, and Kosinski sees no Polish interest in bringing it back to bloom, a tragedy he calls a second Holocaust.

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While the selections would be improved by contextualizing introductions, they portray a man who was impassioned about literature and who saw his role as confronting ``life's threatening encounters.'' He finds inspiration, he writes, from an intertwining of the Polish, Hasidic and American literar...

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