Using Getrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas as a template, Filip Noterdaeme'smemoir, The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart tells the story of two eccentric European expatriates who find love in New York City and carve out a delirious, dadaesque life on the margins of the contemporary art world.
Published in 2013 by OUTPOST19, with a foreword by Penny Arcade.
Having taught The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas four times in the past five years, I have to say this is one of the most satisfying sequels -- playing with Gertrude Stein, riffing on her style, her syntax, turning her love letter to Paris into a love letter to New York.
– Wai Chee Dimock
The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart is great effervescent fun, gossipy, tone-rich, smooth and sly and conceptual, like Alice B., in Gertrude's hands.
– Wayne Koestenbaum
It's hard to imagine anything more charming than The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart, which satirizes everything, but does so with kindness. It's a lovely romp with the absurd, beguilingly ironic about art and social mores, and quietly sincere about love.
– Andrew Solomon
It's a wonderful book...so quirky and quotable. The quips and the quibbles are so amusingly true that my treasured copy is filled with underlines and stars and little exclamation marks and lots of illegible "brilliants."
– Jonathan Rabinowitz
In his introduction to her collected works, Truman Capote said of the writer Jane Bowles that her dialogue ‘sounds, or sounds to me, as though it has been translated into English from some delightful combination of other tongues.’ The same could be said of the intimate, witty and wry memoirish prose of the Belgian artist and now author Filip Noterdaeme. Technically a novel, The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart traces the paths of its two expat heroes Filip and Daniel from their original countries of Belgium and Germany and fuses their destinies as lovers and partners in aesthetic crime and delirious invention in the clubs and pop-up galleries of New York. It is a portrait of a vanishing but never quite vanquished world: of conceptualists, art dealers, performance artists, patrons, phonies, freaks, punks, drag queens, you name it. Part bildungsroman (both come of age together as rather disabused but unbeatable believers in themselves and each other) and part picaresque (taking us to after parties, rich people’s happenings, and seedy Lower East Side burlesques), The Autobiography is a mixed-media distillation of charm and spunk and, maybe best of all, gossip.
— Edmund White
From the drag queens to the avant-garde art patrons and off-the-wall cast of characters from the Theater of the Absurd, this book is a cross between Berlin during the Weimar Republic, Gorky’s “Lower Depths" and Cirque du Soleil, with a little Dietrich, a soupçon of Lotte Lenya and Bertolt Brecht, and a jazzy pinch of Charles Ludlam. Refreshingly uncluttered, too. “The Autobiography of Daniel J. Isengart” is a sequined rhapsody. I give it 4 stars.
— Rex Reed