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Kiss & Tell by Alain De Botton

Kiss & Tell (1995)

by Alain De Botton

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Reflective account of the practice and philosophy of Life Writing and of the particular being the key to interesting accounts of the day to day life of individuals. Not sure why this is not seen in the same way as his later works. ( )
  ablueidol | Apr 25, 2009 |
The hero/narrator of Kiss and Tell, dismissed by his latest girlfriend as totally self-absorbed, determines to prove his possession of the quality of empathy by writing a biography, seeing the biographer’s mission as ‘understanding a human being as fully as one person could hope to understand another, submerging myself in a life other than my own’. For his subject he will select someone quite ordinary, to demonstrate ‘the extraordinariness of any life’. So Kiss and Tell details the life of the fictitious Isabel Rogers, ‘the next person to walk into [his] life’, presented in proper biographical format.
added by KayCliff | editThe Indexer, Hazel K. Bell (Aug 4, 1999)
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It is perhaps as difficult
to write a good life as to live one.
Lytton Strachey
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Whatever one's experience of the globe and its inhabitants, however impartial one's judgement and varied one's acquaintance, it would be no surprise if the most enchanting person one had yet encountered, someone whose taste in love and literature, religion and recreation, dirty jokes and household hygiene all lay beyond reproach, whose setbacks were capable of eliciting inexhaustible concern and pity, whose dawn halitosis was the grounds for no quiet shudder and whose view of humanity seemed neither cruel nor naive - one might without presumption suggest this person to be none other than oneself.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312155611, Paperback)

Alain de Botton has crafted a delightfully ingenious novel in the form of a biography of an unknown woman. Told by a former flame that he lacks empathy, the engaging narrator of Kiss & Tell decides to write a book about the next person he meets. This turns out to be Isabel Rogers, a production assistant at a London stationery company. The sincere effort of this would-be Boswell to make this ordinary woman fascinating cause him to fall in love with her, causing a shift in his writing from an examination of Isabel's life to a minutely-detailed account of his relationship with her. Alain de Botton's earlier work, The Romantic Movement, garnered praise from John Updike and Pico Iyer, who called him "a Stendhal of the 90's dating scene."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:28 -0400)

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A man accused by women of narcissism tries to show more interest in his next one, only to discover women don't like too much attention either. A romantic comedy set in Britain by the author of On Love.

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