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By Jerzy Kosinski (1979)
First Edition, First Printing
DESCRIPTION: It's a bit of a miracle that author Jerzy Kosinski ever even made it to adulthood and an American literary career in the first place: a Polish Jew who survived World War Two because of fake ID papers from a sympathetic Catholic priest, he only managed to escape the post-war Communist Poland afterwards by literally inventing a fake American institution to justify his travel visa, as well as fake Communist intellectuals who "promised" via letters that he would return after his trip. But survive he did, eventually getting a degree from Columbia University and then becoming a lecturer at Yale, Princeton and other prestigious schools, a bitterly ironic fact given his death by suicide in 1991. Before his late-life troubles, though (including a series of health problems and multiple accusations of plagiarism), Kosinski churned out some of the most admired novels of the entire countercultural era, including 1965's The Painted Bird (considered by many to be one of the best books ever written about the horrors of WW2), and his most famous, 1971's Being There, a proto-Forrest Gump story whose Hollywood adaptation garnered Peter Sellers an Oscar nomination. Today's book being auctioned, 1979's Passion Play, is from the very tail end of this countercultural-era streak, and in Kosinski's own words is the most autobiographical thing he ever wrote; the story of a polo expert undergoing a mid-life crisis, our hero "Fabian" criss-crosses the country in an RV, having casual sex with a series of strangers, and ruminating on all kinds of issues that were hot to its late-'70s time period. A forgotten gem of the Postmodernist period, Kosinski is due for a major new cultural reassessment soon; and at its highly affordable price today, this is a great volume for any completist to pick up, especially now when it's still relatively easy to put together a complete set of all his books.
CONDITION: Text: Very Good Plus (VG+). In all respects in nearly the same condition as it appeared brand-new in stores, except for a tiny paper tear on the front cover (see photos for more). Dust jacket: Very Good (VG). In generally great shape, except for various small tears and folds along the edges. Stated "First Edition" on the copyright page.
PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at the Printers Row Book Fair, Chicago, June 2014.