- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: Flamingo; Re-issue edition (19 Nov. 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0586090398
- ISBN-13: 978-0586090398
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept Paperback – 19 Nov 1992
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‘Like Madame Bovary blasted by lightening … A masterpiece.’ Angela Carter
‘At some point every good reader comes across “By Grand Central Station I sat Down and Wept”. And he or she recognises an emotion essential and permanent to us.’ Michael Ondaatje
‘A revelation…This short, powerful work has a profound influence on me and was one of the factors that made me want to be a writer.’ Beryl Bainbridge
‘I doubt if there are more than half a dozen such masterpieces of poetic prose in the world.’ Brigid Brophy
‘Explores a passion between a man and two women, one of them his wife – a love despairing and triumphant upon which the reader may gaze, awed, appalled, or even, perhaps, envious.’ The Times
‘Few writers have ever captured the full honesty of what passion means as shockingly and as piercingly as Smart. Today, its force still strikes us hard in the face, a beautiful and bloody blow.’ Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday
‘Constructed as a single, sustained climax, it is like a cry of ecstasy which, without changing volume or pitch, becomes a cry of agony.’ Spectator
‘The emotion, the truth and abject affliction comes through…to move the reader, and even to awe him.’ London Review of Books
From the Back Cover
'By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept', Elizabeth Smart's passionate fictional account of her intense love-affair with the poet George Barker, is widely recognised to be a classic.
“Explores a passion between a man and two women, one of them his wife – a love despairing and triumphant.”
“Constructed as a single, sustained climax, it is like a cry of ecstasy which, without changing volume or pitch, becomes a cry of agony.”
“I doubt if there are more than half a dozen such masterpieces of poetic prose in the world.”
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Written using intense and very lyrical prose, it's difficult not to be affected by passion and pain revealed in this very short and powerful piece of literature, but this is a book that I don't find easy to rate by Amazon's star system. Parts of this prose poem are so emotionally and painfully intense that whilst I was able to recognize the power and beauty of some of the prose, I also found some parts overwrought and overly self-indulgent, and the author's submissiveness in the face of her passion is rather uncomfortable to read about at times. I have read about the profound influence this work has had on some people and I can see why it may have had such a significant impact on them, but although I admire poetical language and would usually value prose over plot, I have mixed feelings about this little book - hence the three star rating - and I'm rather surprised that I didn't derive more from it than I did. I do, however, have Rosemary Sullivan's biography of Elizabeth Smart somewhere on one of my bookcases, and having read 'By Grand Central Station' I am now even more interested in reading the biography and discovering more about her life.
If you like depth in a book I recommend this one. If you like By Grand Central Station I sat Down and Wept then Smart's The Assumption of Rogues and Rascals is just as beatiful.
The best thing about this book is its title. Redolent with sex on every page, it nevertheless strongly reminded me of what Ruskin said about Whistler.
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A thought-provoking text, sincerely written that just about avoids being cloying with some beautifully written passages.Read more