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Sunday, 10 May 2009

Zadie Smith 'The Autograph Man'

Alex-Li Tandem sells autographs - a small blip in a huge worldwide network of desires. It is his business to hunt for names on paper, collect them, sell tham, occasionally fake them, and all to give people what they want: a little piece of fame. But what does Alex want? Only the return of his father, the reinstatement of some kind of all-powerful benevolent God-type figure, the end of religion, somthing for his headache, three different girls, infinitie grace and the rare autograph of forties movie actress Kitty Alexander. With fries.

The Autograph Man is a deeply funny, existential tour arond the hollow things of modernity - celebrity, cinema and the ugly triumph of symbol over experience. Through London and then New York, Alex is sent on a paper-trail, searching for the only authograph that ever matered to him, resisting the mystcical lure of Kabbalah and Zen, and avoiding all collectors, conmen and interfering Rabbis who would put themselves in his path. Pushing against the tide of his generation, Alex-Li is on his way to finding enlightenment, otherwise known as some part of himself that cannot be signed, celebrated or sold.



©2009 The Pegster | by TNB