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Literary Collections Essays

The Short Version

An ABC Book

by (author) Stan Persky

New Star Books
Initial publish date
Aug 2005
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2005
    List Price

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In a volume inspired by Czeslaw Milosz, Stan Persky appropriates the format of the alphabet book as a springboard for musings both personal and philosophical. The Short Version — which, at 300-plus pages is the author's longest book — is a literal ABC: Persky covers only topics that begin with those three letters, though he can't resist tweaking the format to include such subjects as Richard Rorty ("Contingency") and Jack Spicer ("After Lorca"). Subjects range from his travels across Eastern Europe and Asia, to reflections on writers of today. Unafraid to topple sacred cows or singlehandedly resuscitate those in undeserved obscurity, the author provides a road map to a public intellectual's mind. Persky's cosmopolitan perspective encompasses Woody Allen's films, Roland Barthes's theories of identity, and Italo Calvino's creation of Mr Palomar. Along the way he covers such matters as the art of teaching as practiced by Persky, his foray into northern British Columbia, and memories of long-ago Gestalt sessions with David Berg. Eccentric, engaging, and ultimately inspiring, Persky's alphabet pushes the boundaries of creative nonfiction and the conventions of autobiography. This is uniquely compelling reading courtesy of one of the country's best minds. The Short Version is the winner of a 2006 BC Book Prize.

About the author

Stan Persky is the author of more than a dozen books, including Topic Sentence, Buddy’s: A Meditation on Desire and The Short Version, which won a BC Book Prize for non–fiction in 2006. He teaches philosophy at Capilano University and lives in Berlin and Vancouver.

Brian Fawcett is a past editor of Books in Canada, a former columnist for The Globe & Mail, and a founding editor of the internationally-followed Internet news service, Born in Prince George, he has lived in Toronto since 1991.

Stan Persky's profile page

Other titles by Stan Persky