by Michener, James A. (James Albert), 1907-1997
pub. by Fawcett Crest - Ballentine, NY. 1991 isbn - 0-449-22143-1 (LCCN 90-53489) - - 436 p. - maps p.iii - vi
Michener wrote this very late in his career. It is a novel on the writing, getting published and the literary world. It has an autobiographical feel as it is set in the area where he was born and raised.
As most of his writing, this book is divided into discrete and linked parts. In this case there are 4 parts. Each part is narrated by a different person, but all are closely linked in the story.
I. The Writer - Lukas Yoder p.1-106 - A very popular author but by no means avant-guard. He lives lives in rural SE Pennsylvania in the Pennsylvania Dutch area among the Amish and Menonites. There is another person in the publishing process, his agent, Hilda Crane. She is mentioned and her job described. She is not mentioned again in the book.
II. The Editor - Yvonne Marmelle p. 107-179 - This book gives a more complete biography of this character than any of the others. She grew up in New York in what she called genteel poverty. Starting out as a tomboy after an accident broke an arm she, under the tutalage of an uncle, discovered the world of books. From that she grew into the world literature and found a job in a publishing house, where she worked her way, through formal study and much hard work, into an editorship. Along the way she had a disasterous relationship with a young man who attempted to be an author but never made it. That ended but Yvonne picked herself up and succeeded in the the work of the publishing firm. She worked hard helping Lukas Yoder, many years her senior, into a very successful published author.
III. The Critic - Karl Streibert p.180-334 - College student who in grad school met up with a great critic from UK. He vacationed with him in Italy and Greece and Streibert bcame a proponent of his critical theories, and promoted them in USA. Later he became a professor at the university in the Yoder area of SE Pennsylvania. Yvonne Marmelle becomes the agent for a weak novel he has published. She works with him on a non-fiction book of criticism of American literature. Although the recipient of an unexpected grant from the Yoders he eventually attacks the Yoder style.
IV. The Reader - Jane Garland p. 335-435 - Jane is the widow of a steel company executive. She is the areas greatest philanthropist to the local university as well as the local public library. She is also a friend of the Yoders. She has a grandson who she raised and becomes a young literary prodegy. That grandson, Tim, is tutored by Streibert and rises fast.
The stories weave in and around one another as they are presented, coming to a unified crescendo at the end.
An interesting read from a well seasoned writer. I enjoyed it.
~ 2015-09-12 ~
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