Sunday, January 15, 2006


The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze & other stories
by William Saroyan
ISBN: 081121365X New Directions Publishing Corporation

The title of this book always reminded me of Bugs Bunny singing the song in a cartoon so I treated this book as a sentimental relic of the 1930’s Depression Era America, like I Remember Mama. How really wrong I was. When New Directions came out with an edition, it forced me to examine just what I thought this book was: literature or twaddle. I was first impressed with the writing skill (it’s finely written) but then I was taken by his breath of humanity and by the force of its' character’s passionate convictions. I remarked to someone that it is a young man’s book (Saroyan was 26 when it was published) but it has a universality to it, a humanity to which anyone could relate. It’s one of those books that inspires hungry young people to write. It’s a pity Saroyan is not read as much as he used to be.

I keep this book near the bedside and dip into it again and again so when people ask me what I am reading and I can't think of what it is, I just say The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze because it's not that far from the truth.

Tribute site:

“The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough”
William Saroyan 1908-1981