The Art of the Wasted Day

Category: Book
By (author): Hampl, Patricia
Subject:  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary
  BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
  BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / General
  BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Inspiration & Personal Growth
Publisher: Viking
Published: April 2018
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 288
Size: 8.56in x 5.88in x 1.00in
Availability:
Unavailable

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*A spirited inquiry into the lost value of leisure and daydream

The Art of the Wasted Day is a picaresque travelogue of leisure written from a lifelong enchantment with solitude. Patricia Hampl visits the homes of historic exemplars of ease who made repose a goal, even an art form. She begins with two celebrated eighteenth-century Irish ladies who ran off to live a life of "retirement" in rural Wales. Her search then leads to Moravia to consider the monk-geneticist, Gregor Mendel, and finally to Bordeaux for Michel Montaigne--the hero of this book--who retreated from court life to sit in his chateau tower and write about whatever passed through his mind, thus inventing the personal essay.

Hampl's own life winds through these pilgrimages, from childhood days lazing under a neighbor's beechnut tree, to a fascination with monastic life, and then to love--and the loss of that love which forms this book's silver thread of inquiry. Finally, a remembered journey down the Mississippi near home in an old cabin cruiser with her husband turns out, after all her international quests, to be the great adventure of her life.

The real job of being human, Hampl finds, is getting lost in thought, something only leisure can provide. The Art of the Wasted Day is a compelling celebration of the purpose and appeal of letting go.
Review Quote*"A wise and beautiful ode to the imagination- from a child's daydreams, to the unexpected revelations encountered in solitary travel, meditation, and reading, to the flights of creativity taken by writers, artists, and philosophers." The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A wonderfully lavish and leisurely exploration of the art of daydreaming . . . [a] remarkable and touching book."- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An exquisite anatomy of mind and an incandescent reflection on nature, being, and rapture . . . Memoirist extraordinaire Hampl [is] a master of judiciously elegant vignettes and surprising, slowing unfurling connections."- ALA Booklist (starred)

"Lucent, tender, and wise . . .  a captivating and revelatory memoir." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Vivid, passionate, bursting with ideas and insights, Patricia Hampl's new book is a summation of a lifetime of sensitive searching and thinking.  A love story, a meditation on death, travel, Americanness, Catholicism, integrity and Montaigne, this beautiful journey is finally about the education of a soul."  --Phillip Lopate
 
"This book, tender, curious and crazily wise, brings to mind Michel de Montaigne's saying that ‘A spirited mind never stops within itself; it is always aspiring and going beyond its strength.'" – Azar Nafisi

"What ties together this beautiful book are the imaginary conversations born of Hampl's mourning for her life companion.  An elegy, a reader's pilgrimage, a reflection on the writing life, full of humor, surprises, and wisdom gently given, The Art of the Wasted Day is a book for the ages." --Alice Kaplan

"The art of Patricia Hampl is the art of a lyrical, contemplative self, a self as instrument attuned to the world's vibrations. Through reflection and investigation, vignette and daydream, she roams centuries and continents in this book." --Margo Jefferson

Praise for the work of Patricia Hampl:


"Hampl's prose is delightfully fluid, artful without being arty, ever attuned to ambiguity.  She is, unquestionably, one of the finest stylists we have." - Dan Cryer, Newsday

"[Hampl's] style moves easily from the high lyricism of wonder and delight to the unfooled coolness of irony and skepticism." - Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Patricia Hampl is one of our best:  a stylist of uncommon grace, a writer of absolute clarity, and a thinker whose unfailing intelligence is always informed by feeling." - Mark Doty, National Book Award-winning author of Fire to Fire
Biographical NotePatricia Hampl is the author of six prose works, including A Romantic Education and, most recently, The Florist's Daughter. Her work has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Best American Essays. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacArthur Foundation, she lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.