Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen by Erik Jensen

Reviewed by
October 2014, no. 365
The biographer as truffle-hound

Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen

by Erik Jensen

Black Inc., $32.99 hb, 195 pp, 9781863956932

Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen by Erik Jensen

Reviewed by
October 2014, no. 365

Erik Jensen, a young journalist who now edits the Saturday Paper, has written an unusual memoir of his four years shadowing an artist – a difficult artist, it must be said (putting it euphemistically). Any new memoirist like Jensen will be interrogated umpteen times about his motivation. Such is the fascination with biography – fascination mixed with ambivalence – he will be asked about catharsis, whether the exercise was improving, enlightening, transmogrifying. In Tardises and tents the memoirist will become adept at distilling his intentions, whether they be financial or fraternal, vengeful or venerative. In Jensen’s case, this curiosity is likely to be magnified because of his intimacy with his subject and the marked decadence of the setting. This biographer’s rationale is as intriguing as that of his beleaguered subject.

The biographer as truffle-hound

Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen

by Erik Jensen

Black Inc., $32.99 hb, 195 pp, 9781863956932

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