And Then? and Then? What Else? – Handler, Daniel – Hardcover


You never love a book the way you love a book when you are ten.

Writing as Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler has led several generations of young readers into that special and curious space of being hopelessly lost, and joyfully finding yourself, in the essential strangeness of literature. The wondrous and perilous journey of the Baudelaire orphans sprung from the author’s own path, from his childhood discovery of Baudelaire’s poetry through the countless peculiarities of his pursuit of a literary life―abject failure and startling success, breakthrough and breakdown, concordance and controversy―lit along the way by the books and culture he loved best.

At once a personal memoir and a literary exploration, a how-to book and a critical inquiry, a sequence of stories and a series of events, And Then? And Then? What Else? is a book not just for anyone curious about the creator of Lemony Snicket, but for anyone who loved books when they were a child, and still loves them now.

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“Writers lead messy lives, constantly condemned to days of lousy first drafts, failed ideas and chronic misstatements. Daniel Handler feels this deeply throughout his kinda-sorta memoir…. He wants to encourage you to give up seeking easy answers about who writers are and how writing works…. For Handler, the writing life means forever stepping into frustration and strange ironies…. Knowing there’s no right way to do it is the most liberating advice of all.”
Mark Athitakis, Washington Post

“The real treats of this book are Mr. Handler’s infectious delight in literature and the peculiar sensibility through which he sees the world…. It’s rewarding to do a ridealong with someone who responds this intensely to art…. This erudite, vulnerable, funny and idiosyncratic book ranks among his best. Grown-up fans of Lemony Snicket will enjoy discovering the rest of the story.”
James Kennedy, Wall Street Journal

“Handler is skilled and nuanced as a writer, with a developed voice and point of view. He has never fit the categories, so why would we expect him to start here?…. Here we get a glimpse of how Handler works. Throughout ‘And Then? And Then? What Else?’ he highlights the tension between thought and feeling, the way we can infer something without fully knowing it. That’s a sensation familiar to every kid who reads ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’: What adults are saying and what they’re doing are very different things…. He is frank without being overly revealing and always seeks out some larger integration, a place where thought and feeling might intersect…. Why not opt for joy? This, Handler wants us to understand, is the most important component of storytelling ― of reading and writing ― and of living too.”
David L. Ulin

“A charming book, more a set of literary and personal musings than a standard autobiography…. The effect of this distinctive little book might be described as merging the art with the artist, which turns out to be the perfect thing.”
Marion Winik, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“The inimitable Daniel Handler is the Boswell, the right-hand man for…. okay the creator of Lemony Snicket, beloved kid’s author. Naturally, Handler would never write a straightforward autobiography, offering instead a memoir/confession/guide to writing/appreciation for the art that inspired him. It’s a work as quirky and heartfelt as one would expect.”
Michael Giltz, Parade

“With his inimitable wit and candor, Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, crafts an exceptionally companionable memoir sure to delight and perhaps even challenge both existing fans and readers new to his work…. A fully captivating memoir rich with insights on reading, writing, and life itself.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This dazzling memoir from the writer better known as Lemony Snicket (a nom de plume whose origins he hilariously explains here) delves deeply into every aspect of his life. Each section effortlessly shifts from the sublime―such as his literary and cultural influences, particularly the poetry of Baudelaire―to the banal, then the deeply silly, and then back to another immensely readable description of the writers and artists he loves (he includes a short reading list at the end of the most notable works he mentions since he discusses so many). In stupendously written, engagingly conversational prose, Handler candidly covers a wide range of topics and experiences―his mental health struggles, his sexuality, his terrible early attempts at writing, and some shocking trauma. Handler also thoughtfully probes what to include and not include in a memoir, and throughout there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Handler’s army of devoted fans will be delighted with this imitable memoir, while his fascinating experiences and approaches to writing will engage all readers interested in how writers write and why. Thought-provoking, deeply personal, and like few other memoirs in the range of topics covered, Handler’s mix of the personal and the literary is as compelling as his gloriously off-beat fiction.”
Booklist, starred review