Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
I Dream with Open Eyes by George Prochnik
Add I Dream with Open Eyes to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf
I Dream with Open Eyes by George Prochnik
Hardcover $26.00
Sep 27, 2022 | ISBN 9781640095472

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Sep 27, 2022 | ISBN 9781640095472

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Sep 27, 2022 | ISBN 9781640095489

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Product Details


Praise for I Dream With Open Eyes:

“Prochnik’s memoir, in prose at once personal as well as profound, attempts to come to grips with provocations and polarities both inner and outer, forces nourished within his own being and down the line of his family tree, as well as those thrust upon him by a country marching to the verge of self-destruction. ” —Ryan Asmussen, Chicago Review of Books

“A many faceted intellectual and moral inquiry rooted in [Prochnik’s] exceptional erudition, philosophical cast of mind, and family history . . . As he delves into ‘apocalyptic capitalism,’ ‘explorations of the unconscious,’ Titian, the Surrealists, and Spider-Man, Prochnik traces the nexus between self and civilization with exacting and electrifying rigor, insight, and emotion.” —Booklist

“Prochnik chooses to wrestle with the moral dilemma of what it would mean to continue to live in a country that could elect Donald Trump as its president. The result is a thoughtful, if sometimes challenging, journey through that process . . . The intellectual tapestry he weaves is complex and variegated . . . With critical elections looming in 2022 and 2024, the decision he faced may become an equally pressing one for others.” —Shelf Awareness

“An erudite examination of heritage, home, the meaning of [Prochnik’s] life’s work, and his place in the world . . . From Titian to the surrealists, Stefan Zweig to Walter Benjamin, H.D. to Elizabeth Bishop, Prochnik draws on art, philosophy, literature, and heavily on Freud as he contemplates his ‘longing to move to a different moment in history’ and to change his life—and his son’s—’instead of just being forced to submit to the ways the world was changing so alarmingly around us. A dark, brooding, and highly literate meditation.'” —Kirkus Reviews

“In this thrillingly candid book, Prochnik examines his decision to leave his home—the United States—and addresses questions that are becoming all too familiar and all too pressing for more and more of us: How do we proceed, how do we think, how do we understand ourselves and even our existence on Earth when social and political convulsions shatter our sense of belonging to something—to a nation or culture? Prochnik delights us with his transporting eloquence, kindness, and erudition, the originality of his thought, and astonishing reflections on his family and background. The book shines, and in the darkness where we live now, it leaves us with an orienting and invigorated sense of possibilities.” ––Deborah Eisenberg, author of Your Duck Is My Duck

“George Prochnik is our great biographer of émigré writers, chronicling lost-and-found souls such as Heinrich Heine, Gershom Scholem, and Stefan Zweig as they flee from (and sometimes toward) disaster. In I Dream with Open Eyes Prochnik turns his exilic gaze on his own departure from New York City in the wake of the Trump election, an ambivalent leave-taking that has inspired this extraordinary reflection on ‘home.’ What is it exactly? A brownstone filled with mementoes of a family whose members range from early Puritans and friends of Emerson to Southern Confederates and associates of Freud to émigrés, like Freud, from a Vienna on the cusp of catastrophe? A Brooklyn neighborhood whose rich mix of people is threatened by a mercilessly unequal economy? A country that seems thrilled to death by nihilistic behavior of all sorts? A language that is everyday more corrupted by a bullshit artist turned President and a social media complex fueled by inflammatory takes? In the midst of this conflagration, heightened by a raging virus and a suffering environment, Prochnik seizes on almost utopian moments in which alternative ways of living and loving suddenly appear. This book offers hopeful respite in that unexpected home too.” ––Hal Foster, author of What Comes after Farce? Art and Criticism at a Time of Debacle

Praise for In Pursuit of Silence:

“A fascinating—and often funny—look at our most abused sense. Turn off your iPod and read this book.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe
“George Prochnik has gifted us with an impassioned, searching meditation on the antique virtues of silence, the evolving natural history of our most overtaxed sense, the etiology of sound in the modern world and the discrete joys of earbud-free listening. Find a quiet corner in which to read this book, but then go out into the world and be prepared to hear it anew.” —Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic

“Elegant and eloquent.” —The New York Times

Praise for The Impossible Exile:

“[A] superbly lyrical study . . . The Impossible Exile is not really—or not just—a biography of Zweig’s final years. It is a case study of dislocation, of people who had not only lost a home but who were no longer able to define the meaning of home . . . Mr. Prochnik gives a very rich sense of what so many exiles experienced during the war . . . [his] words could not be more resonant.”  —Andre Aciman, The Wall Street Journal
“Subtle, prodigiously researched and enduringly human throughout, The Impossible Exile is a portrait of a man and of his endless flight.” —The Economist

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about George Prochnik
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top