Seven Tattoos by Peter Trachtenberg
A Memoir in the Flesh

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Peter Trachtenberg's Seven Tattoos: A Memoir in the Flesh is much more than the memories of an eloquent writer. It's wild anthropology, eclectic theology, literary observation, and a treatise on the uses of body modification and tattooing. Even Trachtenberg's most harrowing and absurd experiences become universal through his illuminating prose.

As a Jew drawn to the ritual of Catholicism, plagued by its guilt and craving its absolution, he gets a tattoo of the wound of Christ. An unfilial son and regretful lover, he marks himself with the Archangel Michael, who drove Adam and Eve from Paradise. "Most tattoos are signifiers of the past, commemorating events that have already transpired. That's how I see most of mine," Trachtenberg explains. "But tattoos may also act upon the future, protect the body from impending danger or consecrate it for some arduous task ahead."  

Each chapter in Seven Tattoos explores the theme evoked by the corresponding tattoo: death, sacrilege, primitivism, rebellion, atonement, sadomasochism, downfall. Each of Trachtenberg's seven tattoos is a totem, a print the world has left on him that he has chosen to display on his body. Like fresh ink, Seven Tattoos is striking, bold and indelible.

About Peter Trachtenberg

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Published April 29, 1997 by Crown. 263 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Trachtenberg tries to cover up his substantial self-involvement with thin-lipped Buddhist disquisitions on the ultimate nullity of existence: ``I would prefer to simply be extinguished, to silence the muttering of self, the thing that preens and craves and hungers and tells itself stories in orde...

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Entertainment Weekly

Peter Trachtenberg's tattoos memorialize the people, places, and states of mind this whip-smart writer describes with dizzying intensity in this seven-part narrative.

May 09 1997 | Read Full Review of Seven Tattoos: A Memoir in th...

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