Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael

A Life in the Dark

Format
Ebook
Price
$14.99
 
Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101545324
  • 432 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult

Overview

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year

The first biography of The New Yorker’s influential, powerful, and controversial film critic.

A decade after her death, Pauline Kael remains the most important figure in film criticism today, in part due to her own inimitable style and power within the film community and in part due to the enormous influence she has exerted over an entire subsequent generation of film critics. During her tenure at the New Yorker from 1967 to 1991 she was a tastemaker, a career maker, and a career breaker. Her brash, vernacular writing style often made for an odd fit at the stately New Yorker.

Brian Kellow gives us a richly detailed look at one of the most astonishing bursts of creativity in film history and a rounded portrait of this remarkable (and often relentlessly driven) woman. Pauline Kael is a book that will be welcomed by the same audience that made Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution and Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls bestsellers, and by anyone who is curious about the power of criticism in the arts.

Praise

“Illuminating.” — The New Yorker (Reviewers’ favorites)

“[A] smart and incisive biography…. [Moviegoers] are in for a colossal eye-opening. [Kael’s] love for film has no present-day counterpart…. Mr. Kellow’s clear, independent view of his subject is his book’s most valuable surprise….Kael liked to disparage what she called ‘saphead objectivity.’ Bur Mr. Kellow is no saphead, and he makes objectivity a great virtue."

Janet Maslin, The New York Times (Editors’ Choice)

“[Pauline Kael] got into my bloodstream more than any other critic. So I have been waiting most of my life for a smart, insightful biography like [Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark] to take me beyond and beneath the hypnotic thrill of her prose.” — Ben Brandtley, The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)

"Mr. Kellow’s even-handed treatment gives us [Kael] in all her maddening overconfidence.” — Scott Eyman, The Wall Street Journal

“This affectionate biography makes [Kael’s] life and her passion for movies inseparable.” — The Wall Street Journal (Recommended Gift)

“To appreciate Kael’s trailblazing, you have to see it in its broader context. Luckily, that backdrop is filled in with surefooted sophistication by Brian Kellow in Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, a fair-minded and deeply reported Kael biography.”

Frank Rich, The New York Times Book Review

“[Brian Kellow] handles this difficult, unsympathetic personality with an admirable evenhandedness.”
  — Publishers Weekly

“A must-read for any devotee of film.”
  — Library Journal

“For a biography to do justice to a complex personality and a great mind such as Kael’s, extensive research must be matched by acute perception. That requirement is fully, even joyously, met here.”
  — Booklist

“Kellow performs biographical magic … Like Kael’s own books, this bio is a page-turner.”
~Kirkus ReviewsKirkus

“I fell on Kellow’s book like a teenage girl on a lost volume of the Twilight saga and found it quite as riveting as teens find anything to do with Bella.”

Mary Pols, San Francisco Chronicle

“A smart and eminently readable examination of the life and career of one of the 20th century’s most influential movie critics.”

Los Angeles Times.com

“[A] rich, thorough, and admirably fair biography.”

Entertainment Weekly (Best Nonfictions Books of 2011)

“[Kellow] brings a wise and sweeping vision to [Kael’s] artistic mentality and her enduring legacy.”

The Washington Times

“[M]eticulously researched.”

Slate.com

“[An] entertaining and insightful biography, as much a study of her criticism as a narrative of her life. . . . [Pauline] Kael emerges from [Kellow’s] biography as a great cinematic character, a kind of Citizen Kane, with a life lived and shaped by the dark.”
Elaine Showalter, The Times Literary Supplement

“Fun, fair, and fluently written, [Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark] is an edifying read.”

The Dallas Morning News

“Mr. Kellow throws a great deal of light on the famous critic’s heretofore mysterious ways.”

The Portland Mercury

“In Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, author Brian Kellow offers a making-of story as engaging as her criticism. It’s not easy feat—what’s less dramatic than scribbling into the night?—but Kellow tapped [Kael’s] friends and foes and her writing while developing a colorful, even handed appreciation of one of film’s most influential critics….[An] eye-opening biography.” — Associated Press

“The fact that most of us know little about [Kael’s ] upbringing of her private life makes this an especially intriguing biography.”

Leonard Maltin, Leonard Maltin.com

“Compelling…thrillingly written and exhaustively researched….Genius.”

The Playlist

“Kellow evocatively captures the blooming of film culture in the early 1960s, and the sobriety with which Kael took over the critical pulpit….Kellow not only grasps the significance of his subject, but invokes the pace and energy of [Kael’s] singular style….good, dishy fun.”

The Village Voice

"Kellow has reconstructed Kael’s ‘life in the dark’….The result is a joy to read….[I]t’s a fascinating book."
Los Angeles Magazine (Critic’s Picks, November 2011 Issue)

“[E]xhaustively researched, beautifully written….Kellow has told [Kael’s] life in incredible detail….I found [Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark] enthralling because it vividly recreates a world I was part of, which seems now very distant. It is also because Kellow has been generous in quoting [Kael’s] sensuous, percussive, often wise prose….Pauline was a galvanizing presence, and Kellow has brought her back with overwhelming intensity.” — Howard Kissel, Huffington Post

Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark is a very good biography."

Richard Schickel, Los Angeles Review of Books

"At last, a biography of the highly influential New Yorker film critic."
San Francisco Chronicle

“The [present] I hope someone will send me is Brian Kellow’s Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark.”

Philip French, The Observer (U.K.)

“[A] rich, thorough, and admirably fair biography.”

Entertainment Weekly

“Kellow, an erudite movie lover…writes beautifully and dexterously interweaves the story of a career long-thwarted with a sensitive reading of [Kael’s] youthful enthusiasm and intellectual growth. To an impressive degree, he gets inside the head of a precocious, fearsomely smart young woman from small-town California and is able to describe what drove her, which authors turned her on (James, Hawthorne, Dostoyevsky, Melville, Woolf, Proust), her love of jazz and her distaste for aesthetic, religious and political dogma. So thoroughly does he portray the development of Pauline’s character and passionate engagement with matters aesthetic that it comes as no surprise she was able to burst onto the scene, at the relatively advanced age of 48, as one of the most dynamic cultural arbiters of the past century….Kellow admirably brings Pauline’s wit, insight and passion to life on the page and has made at least one critic nostalgic for the days when heavyweight critical battles raged and at least one of us lived a life worthy of a biography….[An] excellent biography.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“Kellow matches extensive research with acute perception in his sensitive and definitive biography of Pauline Kael, America’s foremost, and most controversial, movie critic.”

Booklist (Top 10 Arts Books 2011)

“Brian Kellow’s biography of [Pauline Kael] is a fascinating and enlightening read.”

Whitney Matheson, USA Today

“[A] finely balanced biography…[N]ot only will you not be disappointed with Kellow’s intrepid research, you’ll also be rewarded by his rich, close reading of her reviews (and the stories behind the writing of them) that does marvelous justice to Pauline Kael’s exhilarating gift for writing on the movies. Both, her admirers and her detractors could not have asked for a more satisfying biography.”

The Hindu

“Absorbing.”

Toronto Star

“[A] smashing first biography of the famed New Yorker critic.”

The Buffalo News

“Compelling.” — The Onion A.V. Club

“[A] richly detailed biography.”

Maclean’s

“Throws radiant light on the renowned movie critic.”

David Finkle, The Huffington Post

"[A] fascinating new biography….[Kellow] captures [Kael’s] best passages and most heartless insults and puts them in context.” — Laurie Winer, Los Angeles Review of Books

“[A] terrific new biography… [Kael’s early life ] was a revelation to me, thanks to Kellow’s ace research.” — Salon.com

“[Pauline Kael is an] entertaining and insightful biography.”
www.Redroom.com

“[Pauline Kael is an] excellent Biography.”
www.TheHumanist.org

“[Brian] Kellow finds the emotional core of [Pauline] Kael’s persona….Kellow is quickly becoming a film fan’s dream biographer…. That Kellow chooses to write in calm, unshowy prose is both astute as a journalistic technique and integral to the book’s aesthetic success….Kellow’s Kael transcends mere artistic contrarianism and resembles a sort of impassioned duelist.”
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