The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup by Susan Orlean
My Encounters with Extraordinary People

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



The bestselling author of The Orchid Thief is back — and she's brought some friends — in this wonderfully entertaining collection of the acclaimed New Yorker writer's best and brightest profiles. Meet more than thirty-five of Susan Orlean's favorite people — from the well known (Bill Blass and Tonya Harding) to the unknown (a typical ten-year-old boy) to the formerly known (the 1960s girl group the Shaggs).

Passionate people. Famous people. Short people. Young people. And one championship show dog named Biff, who from a certain angle looks a lot like President Clinton.

Orlean transports us into the lives of some rather eccentric individuals, like the man who has spent thirty years selling nothing but ceiling fans; or Bob Silverstein, maker of the Big Chair — the creme de la creme of oversized chairs used for novelty photographs at carnivals. Others are living highly unusual lives, like Cristina Sanchez, the eponymous bullfighter, the first woman to become a matador in Spain; or the African king who drives a taxi in New York City and keeps his throne in his living room. Whether describing the sun-drenched existence of a Maui surfer girl or the devoted life of the Jackson Southernaires — a traveling gospel group — Orlean writes with such insight and candor that readers will feel as if they've met each and every one of these unconventional folks.

Susan Orlean brings her wry sensibility, exuberant voice, and peculiar curiosities to a fascinating range of subcultures — sports and music and hairdressing and real estate, among others. The result is a joyful, luminous tour of the human condition via an eclectic array of people, as seen through the eyes of one of America's most entertaining and original literary journalists.

About Susan Orlean

See more books from this Author
Susan Orlean is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has also written for Outside, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Vogue. She graduated from the University of Michigan and worked as a reporter in Portland, Oregon, and Boston, Massachusetts. Orlean is the author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend. She now lives in New York City and can be reached via the internet at
Published March 10, 2001 by Random House. 336 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

The speech of the bullfighter of the titular essay says worlds about what life can be like after you’ve begun to fight bulls to earn your keep: “Sometimes after you’ve fought and killed the bull you feel as if you hadn’t done a thing all day.” Some essays work better than others, but in general t...

| Read Full Review of The Bullfighter Checks Her Ma...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

One of the New Yorker's most distinctive stylists, Orlean (The Orchid Thief) has a knack for capturing something extraordinary in [the] ordinariness of her subjects. Most are completely unknown, o

Jan 01 2001 | Read Full Review of The Bullfighter Checks Her Ma...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Sure, there's a piece on designer Bill Blass and another on figure skater Tanya Harding, but Orlean clearly prefers to write about lesser known people like Felipe Lopez, New York's first Dominican high school basketball phenom, or Kwabena Oppong, a New York taxicab driver who also happens to be t...

| Read Full Review of The Bullfighter Checks Her Ma...

Entertainment Weekly

A- Originally posted Jan 26, 2001 Published in issue #579-580 Jan 26, 2001 Order article reprints

Jan 26 2001 | Read Full Review of The Bullfighter Checks Her Ma...

Reader Rating for The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup

An aggregated and normalized score based on 25 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review