Beginning in the summer of 2004, Scott Nadelson’s life fell apart. His fiancée left him a month before their planned wedding. He moved into a drafty attic. His car’s brakes went out. He learned that his cat was dying. Over the next two years, he’d struggle, with equivocal and sometimes humiliating results, to get back on his feet, in the process re-examining his past to understand his present circumstances.
More than a collection of autobiographical essays,The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progressis a literary self-portrait that revolves around the dissolution of a relationship but encompasses the long process of a young man’s halting self-discovery. Exploring episodes from the life of its author/narrator marked by failure, suffering, and hope, as well as literary and cultural influence, the book weighs the things that make us want to give up against the things that keep us going. Though many of the pieces are comic and self-deprecating – some self-lacerating – they are above all meditations on the nature of the self and the way it can be constructed through memory, desire, and the imagination. Together they form a larger narrative, a search for fulfillment and identity in a life often governed by fear.
With humor and unflinching honesty, Scott Nadelson scrutinizes his life to discover who he is and finds just how elusive such a discovery can be. To read the resulting book is to join him on a personal journey that is thoughtful, surprising, occasionally hilarious, and unapologetically human.
My daughter, three, has recently taken to using the word “actually” whenever she wants to convince me of something I won’t likely believe. “Well, actually, Daddy,” she said the other night,...Forward
HOW DO YOU DISTANCE YOURSELF when writing memoir? It’s a great question, and an even greater exercise when you sit down to write. When Scott Nadelson proposed it, I snapped it right up,...Forward
Dinah LenneyAuthor Lawrence Weschler once said, “Every narrative voice — and especially every nonfiction narrative voice — is a fiction. And the world of writing and reading is divided into...Forward
Between the long evenings and lazy vacation days, summer is a great time to catch up on reading. If you’re looking for an engrossing piece you can read in a single sitting,...Forward
Whenever I finish a movie on DVD, I can’t help watching the “Extras”—all those deleted scenes and low budget interviews and director comments over the soundtrack. Sometimes I even watch them...Forward
A poignant meditation on love, literature, and the pains as well as the perverse pleasures of loneliness. Nadelson chronicles his life in progress with the wry, warm honesty of an old friend catching up after many years. He reminds us that the world can be simultaneously huge and miniscule, that what we read and see and remember is at once nothing and everything, that wholeness is much greater than any sum total you can imagine.
- Meghan Daum
- author of Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House
The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress is an endearing self-portrait filled with wisdom, humor, and refreshing honesty. Nadelson examines moments in his life marked by failure and disappointment, yet nothing fails or disappoints in this fine modern memoir. A great read.
- Dinty W. Moore
- author of Between Panic & Desire
In The Next Scott Nadelson, the title figure is honest, open, and searching, and his presence on the page is truly consoling: his patient excavation of his life will help readers understand their own.
- David Shields
- author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
Eloquent and universal.
One of the joys of this book is that in showing how literature sustained him Nadelson gives us literature that sustains.
- Scott F. Parker
- The Oregonian
Even in his most pitiful moments, Nadelson’s readers can’t help but look through their fingers at him, not in disgust or bewilderment, but in solidarity.
- Corey Fawcett
- Portland Monthly Magazine
It’s unusual to read a memoir built of short stories, but it works—instead of forcing a narrative arc onto his own life, as so many memoir writers do, Nadelson simply places these stories next to one another, allowing their edges to overlap, tugging the reader forward and backward in time. The results are funny, quietly compelling, and unflinchingly frank. Nadelson has built a golem out of paper and typeface.
- Alison Hallett
- The Portland Mercury
[The Next Scott Nadelson] seems written to a cool score by Townes Van Zandt and is a book that is hard to put aside…Philip Roth usually comes to mind when I read Nadelson…I mention the Roth comparison because I think Nadelson is better compared with another writer, not Jewish. Reading Scott Nadelson makes me want to read more Turgenev, but only while I eagerly await the next Scott Nadelson.
- Paul Haist
- Oregon Jewish Review
With a voice that’s smart, candid, self-effacing, and immensely likeable, Nadelson’s memoir is a complete success.
- Tyler McMahon
- The Collagist
In Nadelson’s memoir, readers find a skilled writer whose introspection into his insecurities endears him to his readers and presents a fine example of memoir writing that is immediate, honest, visceral, and altogether a pleasure to read. It must also be said that Nadelson’s honesty and openness are rare and underappreciated qualities in memoir writing, especially one from a male perspective.
- Girija Sankar
- New Pages