King of Shadows
King of Shadows

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How do I love Aaron Shurin?

"1. His prose in King of Shadows, tiny essays of jeweled perfection.

2. His seamless transitions of unrelated ideas: a visit to the ballet blossoming into a meditation on Turgenev's "The Singers."

3. An entire essay inspired by the word 'abattoir.'

4. His generous love of his adolescent self in the chapter 'In the Bars of Heaven and Hell.' The way he maps San Francisco in the late 1960s onto his teenage desire. The hidden terror and enormous suppressed joy as he takes the bus to a backroom college student gay bar. The way he's forced to hide his 'shtetl hair' through an elaborate straightening regimen that is almost undone by the winds whipping through the city's financial district."

-Digestibles, Beginning With O Sep 12, 2009

Book Notes: King of Shadows by Aaron Shurin

"I discovered King of Shadows on a recent trip to San Francisco. Rooting through the shelves of City Lights Books, trying to limit the number of books I left the store with, I picked up Aaron Shurin's collection of essays. Thankfully, King of Shadows seemed to contain a little bit of everything that I craved on one plate. I desired nonfiction that I could pick up and set down as needed. As well as to read about San Francisco—something both literary and queer if possible.

Shurin's twenty-one essays range in topic from taking walks through San Francisco’s parks, the aesthetics of bars that no longer exist and a meditation on the flux of time and memory in connection to reading Proust."

-Jory M. Mickelson, Literary Magpie Aug 8, 2009


Aaron Shurin reading from his new book, King of Shadows at Lone Mountain in San Francisco, CA.

-New Lakes Audio Mar 8, 2009

Aaron Shurin reads from King of Shadows

"Aaron Shurin reads 'In the Bars of Heaven and Hell' from his new book is King of Shadows, a collection of narrative essays, just out from City Lights. @ Timken Lecture Hall, California College of the Arts, 9/26/08."

-Dublit Sep 26, 2008

Book Marks Top 10s of 2008

"Shurin's brief essays reveal a multitude of selves: the young student diving with sensual pleasure into sexual San Francisco; the homemaker enthralled by how sunlight adds sheen to his natural pine floors; the 'lovechild of Denise Levertov and Robert Duncan' dedicating his soul to the purity of poetry. Resonant fragments coalesce into a vibrant mini-autobiography."

-Richard Labonte Dec 15, 2008

The Month of Bests

"King of Shadows by Aaron Shurin. Essays that take small moments and blow them up into epic lyrical insight. Or that take big transformations and focus them down to the telling details. My favorite piece is called 'In the Bars of Heaven and Hell' and it's about coming out in Berkeley in the late '60s. Every memoir should transport you like this. Buy it."

-K.M. Soehnlein Dec 9, 2008

"Catherine Brady and Aaron Shurin last night before his reading at City Lights of his new collection of autobiographical essays, King of Shadows, published by City Lights Books. (One of these essays appeared in ZYZZYVA.)"
-Howard Junker, ZYZZYVASPEAKS Jun 6, 2008

Aaron Shurin's King Of Shadows
"If the professor of pop could write as brilliantly as Aaron Shurin (co-director of USF's MFA in Writing program) he would quit his job next month & devote the rest of his life to writing fiction. Aaron has thought very deeply about the nature of words in the modern world. And he has a new book of essays just out, published by City Lights, called King of Shadows."
-Professor of Pop Apr 25, 2008

Related Resources

Aaron Shurin reads from his latest work
Listen to Aaron Shurin read from King of Shadows at Moe's Books in Berkeley.
Jun 18, 2008