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Up Up, Down Down: Essays

Up Up, Down Down: Essays

"Knapp’s first collection of essays features endless inquiry into both the big stuff and nitty-gritty of human experience. His insights have been wrangled from the depth of consciousness and the root of your spine. He gives the gift of language for our collective angst where language may not exist, like Wallace, Maggie Nelson, Mark Greif, and philosophers galore before them, but in a flavor all his own: uniquely West, uniquely weird, uniquely Portland."

Spencer R.

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Author Cheston Knapp
Publisher Scribner
Publication Date 2018-02-06
Section Essays / New Hardcover - Nonfiction / All Staff Suggestions / Non-Fiction Suggestions / Spencer R.
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9781501161025

For fans of John Jeremiah Sullivan and Wells Tower, a “glittering,” (Leslie Jamison), “always smart, often hilarious, and ultimately transcendent” (Anthony Doerr) linked essay collection from the managing editor of Tin House that brilliantly explores the nature of identity. Daring and wise, hilarious and tender, Cheston Knapp’s exhilarating collection of seven linked essays, Up Up, Down Down, tackles the Big Questions through seemingly unlikely avenues. In his dexterous hands, an examination of a local professional wrestling promotion becomes a meditation on pain and his relationship with his father. A profile of UFO enthusiasts ends up probing his history in the church and, more broadly, the nature and limits of faith itself. Attending an adult skateboarding camp launches him into a virtuosic analysis of nostalgia. And the shocking murder of a neighbor expands into an interrogation of our culture’s prevailing ideas about community and the way we tell the stories of our lives. Even more remarkable, perhaps, is the way he manages to find humanity in a damp basement full of frat boys. Taken together, the essays in Up Up, Down Down amount to a chronicle of Knapp’s coming-of-age, a young man’s journey into adulthood, late-onset as it might appear. He presents us with formative experiences from his childhood to marriage that echo throughout the collection, and ultimately tilts at what may be the Biggest Q of them all: what are the hazards of becoming who you are? With “an ordnance of wit” (Wells Tower) and “a prose style that feels both extravagant and exact, and a big, booming heart” (Maggie Nelson), Up Up, Down Down signals the arrival of a truly one-of-a-kind voice.

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