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28 Artists And Two Saints

July 27, 2007

Joan Acocella's book, 28 Artists and 2 Saints is one of the most remarkable books I've read this year. This collection of profiles of some of the world's greatest dancers and choreographers as well as a handful of writers, a sculptor and a couple of religious figureheads thrown in for good measure makes you feel like you're uncovering an entire universe.

Acocella's powers of literary analysis are staggering. She crams a great deal of information into a 5,000-word piece yet the prose style feels airy. Many New Yorker writers combine dense, complex material with an uncluttered style (this is one of the hallmarks of that publication,) but they often sound dry and academic as a result. While Acocella's writing is light, it's full of emotion. It dances.


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