Vermeer in Bosnia: Selected Writings

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Feb 6, 2013 - Literary Collections - 432 pages
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From the master chronicler of the marvelous and the confounding–author of Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder–here is a much-anticipated new collection of more than twenty pieces from the past two decades, the majority of which have never before been gathered together in book form.

Lawrence Weschler is not simply a superb reporter, essayist, and cultural observer; he is also an uncanny collector and connector of wonders. In Vermeer in Bosnia, whether he is reporting on the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars (and noticing, for example, how centuries earlier Vermeer had had to invent the peace and serenity we so prize in his work today from a youth during which all of Europe had been as ravaged as Bosnia) or dissecting the special quality of light in his beloved hometown of Los Angeles, Weschler’s perceptions are often startling, his insights both fresh and profound.

Included here is Weschler’s remarkable profile of Roman Polanski–written years before the release of The Pianist, yet all but predicting the director’s confrontation with the Holocaust in that film–alongside an equally celebrated portrait of Ed Weinberger, a young designer crushed and yet hardly bowed by an extreme form of Parkinson’s disease. Here is Weschler limning his own experience as the grandson of an eminent Weimar-era composer, and then as the befuddled father of an eminently fetching daughter. Here is Weschler on Art Spiegelman, David Hockney, Ed Kienholz, and Wislawa Szymborska.

Here, in short, are some of the most dazzling pieces from Lawrence Weschler’s own brimming cabinet of marvels.

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About the author (2013)

Until his recent retirement, Lawrence Weschler was for more than twenty years a staff writer at The New Yorker, where his work shuttled between political tragedies and cultural comedies. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award and has also been honored with a Lannan Literary Award. The author of eleven books, including Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder (which was short-listed for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award), he has taught at Princeton; Columbia; University of California, Santa Cruz; Bard; Vassar; and Sarah Lawrence. Since 2001 he has been the director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife and daughter, though he pines continually for the light of his native L.A.

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