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You Think it Strange (Nhe Classic Collection) Hardcover – 14 Nov 2013

2 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Notting Hill Editions (14 Nov. 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1907903852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907903854
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 1.6 x 18.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,149,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'Mixing working-class roots and mean streets with college cloisters and Ivy League privilege, Burt is forever trying to make sense of his many-sided identity, though in a commendably unsolipsistic way.' TLS

About the Author

Dan Burt's writing draws on his work as a butcher, sailor, lawyer, public figure, and businessman in, among other places, South Philadelphia; the sea off New Jersey; Washington D.C.; New York; Boston; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and London. He lives and writes in London, Maine, and St. John's College, Cambridge, of which he is an Honorary Fellow. You Think It Strange is an expanded version of Dan Burt's riveting prose memoir, first published in his collection Certain Windows(2011).

Customer Reviews

2.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The autobiographical subject of this short books sounds interesting - how a man raised in the corruption of Chicago in the 1950s makes his way out, through a love of reading and writing poetry, to Oxford University. I heard the author talking about the book on Radio 4 and he made his background sound fascinating - following in his father's footsteps as a butcher while other relatives lived off the proceeds of gambling, prostitution, violence and other corrupt behaviour. His father is, perhaps, the book's most interesting character - a man trapped into a corrupt family life and a loveless marriage who, despite his anger and violence, shows signs of being a thoroughly decent man. For example, he stands up, one day, for a black waiter who is being humiliated by another diner. But the book is a sad one in the sense that the author has never, as he admits, got over his anger. Most books of survival are enjoyable to read because the survivor comes out a better and stronger person. But Dan Burt writes, for instance, of how 'half a century on', a 'rage' stays on with him about being looked down upon and rejected. He is clearly not at peace with himself or the world so the book makes an uncomfortable read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard Dan Burt on BBC Radio with Libby Purvis and he made his book sound an excellent read.
Not only was it a short book but I found it really dissapointing.
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Format: Hardcover
Half of this is ripped off from We Look Like This (Carcanet, 2012). Was Dan Burt ripping off Notting Hill Editions, or are they ripping off us? Whatever, the chutzpah (carelessness??) is breath-taking and probably actionable. With added fishing ('how to jig for weakfish, cast for stripers, chum blues, troll tuna') but whether you fish or not (and I don't) Fishing in Utopia by Andrew Brown should hook you first
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d2f5840) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
HASH(0x9d39e2c4) out of 5 stars yet deeply loved by Burt until he decided his father had betrayed ... 9 July 2014
By Sam Schulman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
John Burt is a barrister in London who also has an honorary fellowship at his old Cambridge college, which includes a set of rooms - a high privilege. But the man living this CP Snow-like life is actually an American Jew, Phillie born, with a Jewish father and Judaized mother who grew up in a secular, mob-influenced inner city neighborhood akin, I'd guess, to Flatbush before the 60s. This rebarbative, fuck-you-if-you-don't-like-me, deliberately uncharming memoir was written, I think, after he had a success late in life as a poet. The story of his childhood, with parents estranged from one another, a mother from a big Jewish mob family, a father who was aggressive, angry, violent, yet deeply loved by Burt until he decided his father had betrayed him, must sound very exotic to his British friends and colleagues, and one senses that he has told parts of it often - at one point he says that each of his mistresses has had to hear a certain episode that reflects ill upon him before she became his mistress.
One senses that relationships are difficult for him, that he has never been married, and this difficulty extends to us readers. We are being told the whole story in the same spirit in which Burt's mistresses have had to hear it - we have to pass this test before becoming intimate with him.
Reading this book is not always pleasant, brief as it is - but its great moment has nothing to do with growing up Jewish and workingclass in 1950s and early 60s Philly, or about Jewish familiy conflicts, or even coming of age. Its truly great pages are about fishing and skippering small boats off the Jersey shore, learning to know the sea and the weather and what human beings are capable of and are incapable of. His father's fishing mentor, a Tarheel transplanted to the Jersey striper party boat business, is the real hero of the book, and a worthy hero. It is hun that I think about long after I finished - while thinking that the most interesting part of Burt's own story is not the story of the tough kid who went to humble LaSalle College (which we are taught to admire) and then wrote a letter to Cambridge and was accepted (this could be Norman Podhoretz in Making It) - but the story of the vastly unread but deeply humanly experienced young man passing through Cambridge and becoming that most acculturated kind of Brit, a barrister. But that part of Burt's story remains untold, and I suspect will continue to do so.
A memorable and affecting bit. As I said, Burt knew many middle class Jewish kids of his generation who were on their way to Penn and Penn State to become professional men. That was not his plan. But through an accident, he found he could after all go to college, and he prepared himself in a way inconcieivable now: "To me, 'college' meant classical music." Though he had never had any interest in it before, Burt forced himself to listen to the Philadelphia classical music radio station, read reviews, borrow records from the library. That's a bright line between pre-60s higher education and that of the post-60s....
Burt doesnt seem to care if you like his book, or his story, or himself. I'm not sure I do - I'm not sure who will - but there is a cold, Lawrencian quality in his writing that you ought to expose yourself to.
HASH(0x9d50e57c) out of 5 stars Dan Burt is a wonderful writer, and this is a great book 26 Oct. 2014
By Sujoy Bhattacharyya - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Chronicling his difficult childhood, growing up in Philadelphia's crime-ridden Tenderloin district to his journey to Cambridge University, Dan Burt's look back is unsentimental but moving - and brutally real in its narrative; I could put this book down. Writing in a novelistic style, Dan Burt never gives in to nostalgia but his remarkable tale does offer hope, which he so succinctly and elegantly expresses in the last line in this remarkable piece of prose. It should be read with his poetry as it will add a new layer of context to it. Dan Burt is a wonderful writer, and this is a great book. For a full review, please check out: http://theglobalcalcuttan.com/?page_id=2992
HASH(0x9d509750) out of 5 stars This is a riveting memoir about the rise of Dan ... 25 Oct. 2014
By Sujoy Bhattacharyya - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a riveting memoir about the rise of Dan Burt, who was born on the mean streets of the Tenderloin area of Philadelphia - the son of a butcher whose mother was the daughter of a crime boss, from the butcher shop to Cambridge University English Dept., and Yale Law School. Once you pick this book up, you will not be inclined to put it down. It is a fascinating read, and touching at the end. It is chronicles a life of struggles, joys, sorrows - a strange life, indeed. One worth knowing.
HASH(0x9d39e414) out of 5 stars a very personal account 2 July 2015
By Jon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very personal account of the author's youth. Well written but not very significant
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