PRIVATE DOMAIN: The Autobiography of Paul Taylor by Paul Taylor

PRIVATE DOMAIN: The Autobiography of Paul Taylor

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Anyone familiar with his dances or his dancing won't be surprised that Taylor's writing is vigorous, idiomatic and prone to puns. Ever the modern, Taylor keeps to the present tense--a choice which can make his story fly along, or can create unwarranted confusion (does he mean now or then?). Something else that's slightly disorienting: Taylor has managed to write an autobiography with two protagonists, himself and Dr. Tacet (a lecherous, artsy, alter ego). Their discussion, arguments and other dialogues sometimes run to several pages, with Taylor gallantly giving Tacet the best lines. Good as these conversations axe, after 300 pages, the convention becomes cloying. The book follows a chronological format, and concludes at about the same time as Taylor's dancing career. Taylor's tales of touring--especially in South America--are classic misadventures; and his profiles of famous people--such as Martha Graham and ""Twyla Twerp""--can be equally funny. But unlike most performers, who tend to treat their autobiographies as a chapter in the history of their art, this man's subject is very much himself. No one will accuse him of padding with names, dates or footnotes. People and places are taken up only insofar as they affect the author. Blunt about sex, drugs and his own mistakes, Taylor prefers an indirect approach to relationships, inspirations and certain emotions. Where other authors would have long passages of explication or introspection, Taylor will instead allow you to eavesdrop on a conversation with Tacet, or leave you to read between the lines. By book's end, Taylor succeeds in making his readers feel like voyeurs at a particularly interesting peephole.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1987
Publisher: Knopf