The Smoking Book

Paperback | May 1, 2001

byLesley Stern

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The Smoking Book is a dreamlike structure built on the solid foundation of two questions: how does it feel to smoke, and what does smoking mean? Lesley Stern, in an innovative, hybrid form of writing, muses on these questions through intersecting stories and essays that connect, expand, and contract like smoke rings floating through the air.

Stern writes of addictions and passionate attachments, of the body and bodily pleasure, of autobiography and cultural history. Smoking is Stern's seductive pretext, her way of entering unknown and mysterious regions. The Smoking Book begins with intimate and vivid accounts of growing up on a tobacco farm in colonial Rhodesia, reminiscences that permeate subsequent excursions into precolonial tobacco production and postcolonial life in Zimbabwe, as well as dramatic vignettes set in Australia, the United States, Scotland, Italy, Japan, and South America. Stern has written a book, at once intensely personal and kaleidoscopically international, that weaves the intimate act of a solitary person smoking a cigarette into a broad cultural picture of desire, exchange, fulfillment, and the acts that bind people together, either in lasting ways or through ephemeral encounters.

The Smoking Book is for anyone who has ever smoked or loved a smoker (against their better judgment); it is for those who have never smoked or for those who mourn the loss of cigarettes as they would grieve for a lost friend. But mostly, The Smoking Book is for all those who are smoldering still.

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From the Publisher

The Smoking Book is a dreamlike structure built on the solid foundation of two questions: how does it feel to smoke, and what does smoking mean? Lesley Stern, in an innovative, hybrid form of writing, muses on these questions through intersecting stories and essays that connect, expand, and contract like smoke rings floating through th...

From the Jacket

A 1999 Village Voice Literary Supplement "Writer on the Verge"Sit back, breathe in deeply, and let Lesley Stern's sinuous words draw you into this innovative book that weaves the intimate act of smoking into a broad cultural picture of desire, exchange, and fulfillment.

Lesley Stern was born in Zimbabwe and lives in Sydney, Australia, where she teaches film and theater at the University of New South Wales. She is the author of The Scorsese Connection.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 8 × 5 × 1.1 inPublished:May 1, 2001Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226773337

ISBN - 13:9780226773339

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Smoke Circles
Burnout
Suspended Forever
A Fishy Smell
Not Wanting
Burial
Like a Precious Gem
Yakandanda
The Body Has a Mind of Its Own
White Man
Translation (a gift of opium)
No Substitute
Seasickness
Screaming
To Bubble and Rumble (like an elephant)
Memory Missiles
A Smoky Edifice (implosion)
Babies or Booze (metonymy)
Bombs or Burns (metaphor)
Traced by (a slight sense of) Bitterness
Instead of a Lobotomy (a cigarette)
To Remember (to find yourself in fragments)
To Forget
Chaos
Smoko
Black Hole Spinning (the physics of writing)
Healthy
Strange Attractors
A Lycanthropic Age (the writing cure)
A Boil About to Burst (the talking cure)
Voicing
Mouthing
Appetite
Lions Don't Smoke
Poison
Fog Drinking
Kettle Logic (the art of separation)
I Done a Lotta Bad Things
The Smoking Room
Kindness (or, the werewolf comes home)
Those Places in the Body That Have No Language Either
Anticipation (a crevice opening up)
Habit
Panic
A Sleeping Problem
Open Arms
Fire Escape
Lighting Up
Unspooling
Demons
Possessed
Smoking Landscape
Life-Giving Mist
In Transit
Notes
Glossary