Solomon, Andrew 1963-
SOLOMON, Andrew 1963-
PERSONAL: Born October 30, 1963, in New York, NY; son of Howard (president of a laboratory research firm) and Carolyn (Bower) Solomon. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1985; Jesus College, Cambridge University, B.A., 1987, M.A., 1992. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Art, particularly Russian and African.
ADDRESSES: Home—64 West Fifteenth St., No. 5E, New York, NY 10011. Agent—Wylie, Aitken, and Stone, 250 West 57th St., Suite 2106, New York, NY 10107.
The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost, Knopf (New York, NY), 1991.
Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State (Washington, DC), 1993.
The Stone Boat, Faber & Faber (London, England), 1994.
New Russian Art: Paintings for the Christian Keesee Collection, Curatorial Assistance, Inc. (Pasadena, CA), c. 1994.
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, Scribner (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributing editor to HG, 1989—. Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times Magazine and Artform.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel; research on African art.
SIDELIGHTS: Andrew Solomon is perhaps best known for his nonfiction work The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression. Suffering his entire life from the ravages of depression as well as seeking a voice with which to express those experiences, Solomon took upon himself the immense undertaking of researching the global disease of depression. Rosemary Dinnage, writing in the New York Review of Books, called the work "wonderfully well written" and a "recounting of [his] experiences of depression, [a] look at history, causes, treatments, and social attitudes." Dinnage concluded that The Noonday Demon is "wideranging and comprehensive." Joyce Carol Oates, writinginthe New York Times Book Review, observed, "As Andrew Solomon suggests in this exhaustively researched, provocative, and often deeply moving survey of depression, depression is 'usually the consequence of a genetic vulnerability activated by external stress.'" Oates concluded that The Noonday Demon "is a considerable accomplishment. It is likely to provoke discussion and controversy, and its generous assortment of voices, from the pathological to the philosophical, makes for rich, variegated reading."
David Kipen, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, commented on the style and delivery of the subject matter in Noonday Demon, stating: "The resulting work of nonfiction combines the unsparing selfexposure of [memoirist Tina] Brown's era with the rigorous, exhaustive research and reporting of New Yorker's past." Richard Bernstein, writing in the New York Times Book Review, said, Solomon's "book is fabulously rich, informed by science, literature, moral philosophy and above all his own determination to see his subject whole, not to avoid any topic, any idea, any conclusion, as long as it brings him and us closer to the truth." A reviewer for Kirkus Reviews observed that the book is "a reader's guide to depression, hopelessly bleak yet heartbreakingly real." And Mary Ann Hughes, writing in Library Journal, said, "This compassionate work that never simplifies complex matters is essential for all collections."
Solomon's first fictional work, The Stone Boat, also garnered notice. A Publishers Weekly reviewer, for example, called the first-person novel "stylish, sometimes beautiful." Kevin Ray, writing in Lambda Book Report, commented that "Solomon has produced a beautiful book, subdued, a book whose careful cadence follows the necessity of maintaining a stilled surface." Ray added that it is "a book of strong repressions without displacements."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Houston Chronicle, July 29, 2001, Laurel Staskus, "Light in a Black Tunnel; Writer Offers an 'Atlas' to the Rough Terrain of Depression," p. 17.
Interview, June, 2001, Maer Roshan, "A Report from Depression's Front Lines," p. 48.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2001, review of The Noonday Demon, p. 573.
Lambda Book Report, January-February, 1995, Kevin Ray, review of A Stone Boat, pp. 35-36.
Library Journal, April 15, 2001, Mary Ann Hughes, "Blues Clues," p. 118.
Newsweek, June 11, 2001, David Gates, "Invitation to the Blues: A Writer's Journey into the Dark Corners of Despair We Call Depression Illuminates More Than His Condition," p. 56.
New York Review of Books, October 4, 2001, Rosemary Dinnage, review of The Noonday Demon, pp. 12-15.
New York Times Book Review, June 24, 2001, Joyce Carol Oates, "I'm Not O.K., You're Not O.K.," p. 9L; July 27, 2001, Richard Bernstein, "In Life's Dark Corners, The Saddest Slow Dance," p. E10L.
Publishers Weekly, May 14, 2001, review of The Noonday Demon, p. 63; September 12, 1994, review of A Stone Boat, p. 84.
San Francisco Chronicle, June 20, 2001, David Kipen, "A Harrowing 'Atlas of Depression,'" p. B1.
Spectator, June 16, 2001, Caroline Moorehead, review of The Noonday Demon, p. 36.
Time International, July 9, 2001, Christine Whitehouse, "Casting Out Demons: A Harrowing New Book on Depression Makes for an Inspiring Read," p. 59.*