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An antic, insolent memoir from the founder of Grand Street . Ben Sonnenberg chronicles for us his coming-of-age at 19 Gramercy Park, once described by The New Yorker as the greatest housein private hands in New York. In a voice that is both candid and cultivated, he reflects upon his political, sexual, and aesthetic education as the son of one of Americas most powerful men, the inventor of public relations, Benjamin Sonnenberg, Sr.Sonnenberg takes the reader along on his flight into anarchy and sabotage--a life of sex and espionage spent in Cold War Europe and 1960s New York. At the same time, he spins a tale of universal human struggles: of family, marriage, divorce, sickness, and debt. A savage comedy, Lost Property is deepened by its reflections upon class, culture, and illness.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781582430454
ISBN-10: 1582430454
Format: Paperback
(230mm x 140mm x 17mm)
Pages: 264
Imprint: Counterpoint
Publisher: Counterpoint
Publish Date: 8-Oct-1999
Country of Publication: United States

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Reviews

US Kirkus Review » The founder of Grand Street offers an erudite and prickly memoir about friendships with intellectuals and socialites, dozens of love affairs, and his struggles to emerge from the shadow of his powerful father. Sonnenberg's father was a P.R. whiz who supplemented his professional success by collecting antiques and throwing elaborate parties at his Gramercy Park mansion. Overweight as a child, Sonnenberg spoke in epigrams and vied for power with the servants. At age 15, his marathon of womanizing began when he tricked a Radcliffe graduate student into bed by telling her he was an editor of the Partisan Review. From then on, he went from woman to woman, many of whom were older and hypereducated. He tried to dazzle his psychiatrists with his knowledge of obscure analytic theory; he developed a taste for handmade suits; he traveled in Europe and made famous friends (Orson Welles, Glenn Gould, Ted Hughes). He was briefly employed by the CIA, interviewing Hungarian refugees, but his life was mostly parties, books, and women. Then, at 34, a strange series of falls began, and some time later he was diagnosed as suffering from MS. After the death of both parents left him with money to disperse, he started Grand Street and discovered the pleasure of working as an "accompanist: essential but subordinate" to other writers. Sonnenberg marshals razor-sharp anecdotes, obscure literary references, and a keen eye for the telling detail to relate his story, which is by no means always pretty. A perceptive, unapologetic self-portrait by an unrepentantly self-involved man. (Kirkus Reviews)


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