“Bizarre twists of fate and the mysterious workings of grace...”
– Publishers Weekly
Bizarre twists of fate and the mysterious workings of grace link these profiles of six people who unexpectedly changed the direction of their lives. We meet Ahumal Ramachander, an intense, polyglot Indian who, on his first trip to the U.S., discovered an obscure abstract-expressionist painter named Harold Shapinsky. Ramachander decided that his true calling, his karma, was to champion Shapinsky's work. His story reveals the ruthlessness of a slick art world. Other dreamers who followed their instincts include Knud Jensen, Danish cheese exporter turned art-museum director; Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus, an award-winning comic-strip history of the Holocaust; and Nicolas Slonimsky, energetic Russian conductor who found a new vocation in his mid-60s as a musical lexicographer. We also meet eccentric artist James Boggs, who often is arrested for spending his near-perfect renditions of $100 bills, and Lenny Durso, an almost bankrupt owner of a bookstore. Weschler is a staff writer for the New Yorker, where most of these sensitive portraits first appeared.