The Death of Fred Astaire: And Other Essays from a Life Outside the Lines


Product Details

$32.95  $30.64
Excelsior Editions/State University of New Yo
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.7 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Leslie Lawrence is a recipient of fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has published in a variety of venues, including Prairie Schooner, Fourth Genre, Witness, The Forward, and The Boston Globe Magazine. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


"...a marvelously rendered and insightful journey about living and loving as honestly as possible." -- Portland Press Herald

"...a beautifully curated collection ... From her own grappling with identity (both gender and sexuality, parenthood, aging, landscape, partnership, etc) to her musings on memory itself (primarily, her father and his connection to Fred Astaire/the art that provides context for her childhood), Lawrence's essay collection glitters with those transitional moments of present becoming memory." -- Lambda Literary

"Lawrence writes with a mastery that can turn on a dime from lyric grace to clumsy whim." -- Solstice

"Leslie Lawrence's essays are sympathetic and patiently observed; she ably demonstrates that hard choices call for careful and humane decisions." -- John Irving

The Death of Fred Astaire assembles a realistic and venturesome portrait of the author--as writer, teacher, partner, mother, grieving partner, perennial seeker--while capturing the complicated texture of the post-1960s decades of American life. Lawrence's reach is wide, her narrative skills highly honed, and her tone is resonant with a sense of truth being told." -- Sven Birkerts, author of Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age

"The Death of Fred Astaire is warm, wry, and rich in detail. A lovely read!" -- Kate Clinton, comedian

"In this stirring collection, Lawrence boldly plumbs her many lives--as lesbian mother, writer, widow, teacher, student, border-crosser ... each is rich beyond description. The Death of Fred Astaire is a marvelous book. Read it and rejoice through your tears!" -- Hilda Raz, coauthor of What Becomes You

"This lively and eclectic collection of personal essays will appeal to a wide range of readers, educating some about an era of American cultural history and for others providing material for an associational romp through their own memories. Additionally, The Death of Fred Astaire will provide useful material for courses in education, nonfiction writing, cultural studies, and women's studies." -- Pamela Annas, University of Massachusetts Boston

"The Death of Fred Astaire is a smart, thought-provoking collection. Leslie Lawrence is at once a wise, companionable guide, as well as an empathetic narrator who points out and identifies with our collective yearnings and desires, our foibles and idiosyncrasies--which are, after all, the central human qualities that link each of us to one another." -- Michael Steinberg, author of Still Pitching: A Memoir