Cambridge: Book summary and reviews of Cambridge by Susanna Kaysen

Cambridge

by Susanna Kaysen

Cambridge by Susanna Kaysen X
Cambridge by Susanna Kaysen
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2014
    272 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

"It was probably because I was so often taken away from Cambridge when I was young that I loved it as much as I did..."

So begins this novel-from-life by the best-selling author of Girl, Interrupted, an exploration of memory and nostalgia set in the 1950s among the academics and artists of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

London, Florence, Athens: Susanna, the precocious narrator of Cambridge, would rather be home than in any of these places. Uprooted from the streets around Harvard Square, she feels lost and excluded in all the locations to which her father's career takes the family. She comes home with relief - but soon enough wonders if outsiderness may be her permanent condition.

Written with a sharp eye for the pretensions - and charms - of the intellectual classes, Cambridge captures the mores of an era now past, the ordinary lives of extraordinary people in a singular part of America, and the delights, fears, and longings of childhood.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Susanna may not be the most likeable young girl, and she certainly spends a good deal of time wallowing in self-pity... but for Kaysen and her legion of fans, the focus on adolescence is a theme that works." - Publishers Weekly

"Although Susanna's despair and confusion are palpable throughout, this is not a depressing work. Susanna is a curious girl whose travels often leave her awestruck." - Library Journal

"Though her prose is luxurious and well-turned, the book's anecdotal, relatively shapeless form diminishes its impact. A belletristic vision of tweendom, earnest but inchoate." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Susanna Kaysen Author Biography

Photo (c) Marion Ettlinger

Susanna Kaysen was born on 11 November, 1948, and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her father is the economist Carl Kaysen (b.1920), formerly a professor at MIT and advisor to President John F. Kennedy.  In 1967 she attended the Commonwealth School before being sent to McLean Hospital where she underwent psychiatric treatment for depression for 18-months having been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.  Her first novel, Asa, As I Knew Him, was published in 1987; followed by a second novel in 1990, Far Afield.  In 1993 she published the memoir that she is best known for, Girl Interrupted, that drew on her experience at McLean Hospital.  It was made into a film in 1999.  All her books draw on her own personal experiences to varying ...

... Full Biography

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