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Nobody's Perfect: Writings from the New Yorker [Hardcover]

Anthony Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Nov 2002
The long-awaited collected reviews of Anthony Lane, one of the finest, and funniest, critics of his generation.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (22 Nov 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330491822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330491822
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 6.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 531,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Lane writes the way Fred Astaire danced; his sentences and paragraphs are a sublime, rhythmic concoction of glide and snap, lightness and sting." -"The New York Times Book" "Review ""Anthony Lane has energy, wit, taste, learning, and (most signally) elegance of mind." --Martin Amis "A pure pleasure to read." -"Los Angeles Times Book Review"

Book Description

Nobody's Perfect, the much anticipated collection from The New Yorker critic, brings together a generous selection of Lane's film criticisms, profiles, book reviews, and essays on art and culture. In the manner of Edmund Wilson and Kenneth Tynan, Lane embraces high and low with equal gusto, clearly having a marvelous time. Whether he's writing about T. S. Eliot or Judith Krantz, Alfred Hitchcock or André Gide, to read him-or better yet, to reread him-is to be carried along on a current of passionate declamation and urgent inquiry, wry reflection and penetrating wit. Taken together, these pieces reflect some of the most brilliant writing and thinking to have graced the pages of The New Yorker, and they impart a cultural and artistic literacy of the highest order.This, Lane's first book, is an exhilarating volume for fans old and new.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars close enough for me... 7 July 2003
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Film crit, profiles and journalism from the New Yorker over the last ten years - what the UK has been missing since Tina Browne snaffled Anthony Lane from the Independent. Highly commended for its wit and erudition, (and for propping open doors - it's 800 pages) but be warned that it's a kind of depressing read. I've been wasting my time on all this stuff all my life, but I now realise that I actually know nothing and have not a solitary idea worth the name in my empty head. The guy's just too smart, not just on the cultstuds stuff but on Eliot, Waugh, Shakespeare - the big guys - and maddeningly witty and charming with it. Had this one next to the loo for a couple of days thinking I would spin it out over a year or so - after all how many reviews do you want to read at a stretch ? - but it was soon out and by my bedside, and soon after that seemed to be following me round the house. I finally finished it off over a couple of days solid reading. And laughing. Haven't had this experience since Pauline Kael's mighty 'For Keeps', next to which it now sits, a worthy companion.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny 16 July 2003
I bought this yesterday - I picked it off the shelf because I vaguely remember seeing it (very positively) reviewed late last year. In the shop I read his review of "The Saint" (with which I agreed) and of "Stealing Beauty" (with which I disagreed largely, I admit, out of lazy sentimentality), but both made me laugh out loud such that other customers started edging away with sidelong looks. So I bought it and spent the evening with my wife, both of us howling with laughter at "Best-Sellers I" which is like a literary tour written by Bill Bryson (in one of his earlier books) - and I mean that as a compliment to both Messrs Lane and Bryson. His re-writing of Robert Frost in the style of Clive Cussler is simply brilliant, as is his Judith Krantz haiku. For any intelligent film- or book-lover, this is a must-buy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Dazzlingly elegant style, wickedly funny, as they say, and fit to stand on the shelf alongside Pauline Kael and Clive James. This book marks a real find for those of us who haven't been managing to read the New Yorker.
Moreover, his judgment is crystal clear, in my own view - I found myself nodding assent to what Lane had to said about The New Hollywood, Star Wars, Orson Welles, Guy Ritchie, Ang Lee, and just about everything else.
I couldn't help noticing how this British writer (because I had to check he actually was)has perfected a style that is, seemingly effortlessly, both American and British at the same time (a kind of Cary Grant prose) with all the urbanity, all the snappy rhetoric which that suggests.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars revel in the wit, the intelligence, the style... 14 Dec 2002
...To some, a collection of old reviews may seem as unappetising as warmed-up porridge, and if so, they'd miss what has been the treat of the Xmas season. Here is a critic to rival, no surpass, Ken Tynan and Cyril Connolly; someone you want to read for sheer pleasure at the jokes even if you haven't seen the movie. Even where you disagree, the descriptions are irresistible: Jim Carrey in The Truman Show "admirable but painful: he looks like a drunk who is not only making do with Pellegrino but pretending he likes the stuff", the New York Film Festival showing of Rushmore, where "tough-=skinned viewers in black polo shirts were severely discomfited to find they were having a good time", and more. Equally superb are the literary essays on Eliot, on Bloom and Shakespeare, on Nabokov, and most particularly the Obituaries column of the Daily Telegraph. He never shows off or uses complicated words. He loves good populist movies quite as much as art-house ones, and what is more will explain just why they're worth watching. In short, he does what almost no other critic does, which is to write with the gut feeling of a member of the audience, but with the erudition and elegance of a scholar.
Would that Lane had stayed in Britain instead of floating off to the New Yorker, fame and fortune. The literary world is the poorer for having lost this star who never confuses malice with wit, arrogance with intelligence, affectation with elegance. I wish all would-be critics and journalists would read this book, and learn from it - and all movie-makers too.
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