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Trifles Make Perfection Paperback – 1 Mar 2004


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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essays on Albert Schweitzer, Vienna, the Budapest String Quartet, and a European culture that is nearly extinct 8 Aug. 2010
By R. M. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Joseph Wechsberg (b. 1907, d. 1983) was a musician, a gourmet, and a writer. Born in Moravia and for much of his life a resident of Vienna, he was a representative of the cultured Mitteleuropa that was shattered by WWII. His father was killed in action in WWI and his mother died in Auschwitz. Through several strokes of good fortune, Wechsberg was in the United States as a representative of the Czechoslovak government when WWII broke out. He polished his English, became enamored of "The New Yorker" magazine, made it his goal to be a writer for it, and -- somewhat against the odds -- succeeded, eventually writing more than 100 pieces for "The New Yorker". He also wrote a handful of books and numerous pieces for other magazines.

Much of his writing is about music and the cultured life, in which the participants aimed for perfection for perfection's sake, down to the smallest detail. Hence, the title of this volume of Wechsberg pieces. TRIFLES MAKE PERFECTION is a magpie collection of fifteen of his non-fiction essays, dating from 1948 through 1979. Six of them originally were published in "The New Yorker" and all, to varying degrees, are marked by "The New Yorker" style (in a few, a little too much so). The atmosphere that pervades them is that of the Old World, especially the coffeehouse, the chamber music salon, and "le grande cuisine". By now, some of the pieces are musty, and I suspect the book would be most appreciated by readers over 50, perhaps even 60. But it does provide a wonderful and sensitive pointillist picture of a European culture whose death knell was sounded by the Nazis and their conflagration of Europe.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of food, this is a MUST READ!!!! 11 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An absolute treasure!! A long overdue collection of one of the 20th century's most overlooked writers. His style and wit are of the highest caliber. Any lover of food, travel and style will have a field day with this.
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