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Sleepwalk: California Dreamin' and a Last Dance with the '60s
For Christopher Buckley, the West is more than just a direction: it stands for dreams and possibilities that are supple, color-filled, and bittersweet. Tinged with memories both comic and dark, this is a book about what it meant to grow up in California during the late '50s and early '60s, one written from the viewpoint of a spirited and insightful observer capable of deftly weaving tales about Catholic school, fashion, cars, music, and dances in the high school gym together with smooth-flowing personal reflections on poetry, politics, and life's many ironies. With uncanny accuracy, Buckley's essays show us how childhood follows us into adulthood, how the culture of our birth sustains, directs, and sometimes blinds us. Haunting in its observations, Sleepwalk is also vastly entertaining and, for anyone not familiar with the ethos of the period, terrifically informative.
A four-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, Christopher Buckley is the author of thirteen collections of poetry, including . . . and the Sea (2006), Sky (2004), Closer to Home (2003), and Star Apocrypha (2001), as well as coeditor of the critical anthology A Condition of the Spirit: The Life and Work of Larry Levis (Eastern Washington University Press, 2004). He was born and raised in California, where he now teaches at the University of California, Riverside.
Buckley has a poet's way of illuminating his memories, and he allows the music of his words—wistful, frank, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking—to lead him in unexpected directions . . . Sleepwalk isn't nostalgia. It's the world we've just come from reimagined and reconsidered.
—D.J. Waldie, author of Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir
A quick-witted spectator, Buckley is anything but sleepwalking through this lovely and moving read.
—Gary Soto, National Book Award finalist for New and Collected Poems
Buckley's book burns more with memory than with grievance, and the wit and lyricism of his recollections make us feel the poignancy of his sense of loss. . . . It is also the kind of experience that aroused the passion and exhilarated athleticism of other writers in California (John Muir, Jack London, Jack Kerouac) who engaged in similar searches for personal transfiguration and an American Sublime.
—Michael Kowalewski, commenting on Buckley's earlier collection of essays, Cruising State (1994), in the Gettysburg Review
To purchase Sleepwalk by Christopher Buckley, please contact our distributor, University Press of New England toll free at 1-800-421-1561 or by fax at 1-603-448-9729. The book is also available online at UPNE, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers.
To request a copy for review, please contact the Carnegie Mellon University Press Editorial Offices at (412) 268-2861 or by email at CarnegieMellonUniversityPress@gmail.com.