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Confessions of a Left-Handed Man

An Artist's Memoir

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244 pages, 5 3/4 x 9 1/4 inches
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“Peter Selgin is a born writer, capable of taking any subject and exploring it from a new angle, with wit, grace, and erudition. He has a keen eye for the telling detail and a voice that is deeply personal, appealing, and wholly original. Fans of Selgin’s fiction will know they are in for a treat, and those who are new to his work would do well to start with this marvelous memoir in essays, his finest writing yet.”—Oliver Sacks

“In the title essay of Confessions of a Left-Handed Man, Peter Selgin displays, as he does time and time again in this finely wrought collection, wit and charm and disarming honesty. However circular these autobiographical narratives might be, they always come back to rest smartly and interestingly in the human heart.”—Helen Schulman, author, This Beautiful Life

“Peter Selgin’s portrait of the artist as a restless, fretful, left-handed young man in search of serenity is thoughtful, erudite, and witty. In the essayistic tradition of Montaigne and Lopate, Selgin digs deep and holds nothing back. A fascinating read.”—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

Peter Selgin was cursed/blessed with an unusual childhood. The son of Italian immigrants—his father an electronics inventor and a mother so good looking UPS drivers swerved off their routes to see her—Selgin spent his formative years scrambling among the hat factory ruins of a small Connecticut town, visiting doting—and dotty—relatives in the “old world,” watching mental giants clash at Mensa gatherings, enduring Pavlovian training sessions with a grandmother bent on “curing” his left-handedness, and competing savagely with his right-handed twin.

It’s no surprise, then, that Selgin went on from these peculiar beginnings to do . . . well, nearly everything. Confessions of a Left-Handed Man is a bold, unblushing journey down roads less traveled. Whether recounting his work driving a furniture delivery truck, his years as a caricaturist, his obsession with the Titanic that compelled him to complete seventy-five paintings of the ship(in sinking and nonsinking poses), or his daily life as a writer, from start to finish readers are treated to a vividly detailed, sometimes hilarious, often moving, but always memorable life.

In this modern-day picaresque, Selgin narrates an artist’s journey from unconventional roots through gritty experience to artistic achievement. With an elegant narrative voice that is, by turns, frank, witty, and acid-tongued, Selgin confronts his past while coming to terms with approaching middle age, reaching self-understanding tempered by reflection, regret, and a sharply self-deprecating sense of humor.