Jacob Peter Kovner
Fortune
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Fortune points both to something received (inherited or told to one) and made actively (as future or as money). This book, combining criticism and memoir, refers to both; the author, Jacob Peter Kovner, is what is pejoratively called a trust fund baby, which is to say he has inherited a fortune. This structuring event is the focus of the book’s first part, in which Kovner investigates what of his fortune he is actually entitled to and how the agreement that makes him wealthy sees him. In the second part, Kovner pursues the future he wants to invent for himself as an artist, doing autobiographical performance work. The text follows the creation of a live performance with an actor who portrays him, while undermining his sense of self. Thematically, the book both touches on critique of the wealthy and interrogates the impulses behind autofiction and its rise to ubiquity – what does this modality promise us? Why does it fail? For Kovner, practices of accumulation of capital as well as life writing are defensive practices that
progressively estrange one from risk and thus also vitality. Fortune is a companion edition to Kovner’s previous book 1130 Fifth Avenue, which engaged with similar topics through the veil of fiction.

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