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The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People

Susan Orlean.
Publisher Random House  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.1 x 0.75 inches
ISBN 9780375758638
Pages/Publication Date 311/2002
Daedalus Item Code 42307
This item is not available.
Following up Saturday Night and The Orchid Thief, longtime New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean presented this collection of 22 pieces that she wrote for the magazine. Her peculiar curiosities lead her from the celebrated (Bill Blass) to the anonymous (an everyday ten-year-old American boy) and the forgotten (the 1960s girl-group the Shaggs). She introduces us to the eponymous female matador—Spain's first—Cristina Sánchez and the surfer girls of Maui (in the article that was the basis of the film Blue Crush). Here are passionate people, successful people, short people, and a championship show dog named Biff, who from a certain angle looks a lot like Bill Clinton.

"One of The New Yorker's most distinctive stylists, Orlean has a knack for capturing 'something extraordinary in [the] ordinariness' of her subjects. Most are completely unknown, or were before she wrote about them in these 20 essays and profiles. Sure, there's a piece on designer Bill Blass and another on figure skater Tanya Harding, but Orlean clearly prefers to write about lesser known people like Felipe Lopez, New York's first Dominican high school basketball phenom, or Kwabena Oppong, a New York taxicab driver who also happens to be the king of the Ashanti living in the United States. (He attends to his Ghanaian subjects—settling disputes, presiding over ceremonies—around his cab-driving schedule.) Disarming but disciplined, Orlean's style is unobtrusively first person, with deft leads: 'If I were a bitch, I'd be in love with Biff Truesdale,' she writes, opening a story on a prize show dog."—Publishers Weekly

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