R. I. P. -- The Authors Thread

Discussion in 'Books' started by Val1, May 8, 2012.

  1. zaqualung

    zaqualung Member+

    Jun 17, 2015
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    Anyway - a few weeks after this thread began, barry Unsworth, a really good (perhaps great) novelist died.

    Anyone who likes literary historical fiction should check him out. Try "Stone Virgin" or "Morality Play" for starters.... great plots.
     
  2. usscouse

    usscouse BigSoccer Supporter

    May 3, 2002
    Orygun coast
  3. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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    Scholar and multi-disciplinary theorist Rene Girard, 91. I've been rereading a few of his essays and interviews recently.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/11/a...-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

    René Girard, whose explorations of literature and myth helped establish influential theories about how people are motivated to want things, died on Nov. 4 at his home in Stanford, Calif. He was 91...

    ...Professor Girard’s central idea was that human motivation is based on desire. People are free, he believed, but seek things in life based on what other people want. Their imitation of those desires, which he termed mimesis, is imitated by others in turn, leading to escalating and often destructive competition.

    His first work, published in French in 1961 and in English in 1965 as “Deceit, Desire, and the Novel,” introduced this idea through readings of classic novels. Over time, the idea has been used to explain financial bubbles, where things of little intrinsic value are increasingly bid up in the hope of financial gain. It has also been cited to explain why people unsatisfied by high-status jobs pursue them anyway.

    Professor Girard expanded his theory through the study of myths, looking at the ways groups of people often create scapegoats — tormenting and sacrificing them — as a means to establish unity. Published in French in 1972 and in English in 1977 as “Violence and the Sacred,” the book argued that a scapegoat’s death can foster social order.

    In the myth of Oedipus, he argued, accusations against him of parricide and then incest with his mother united his enemies in Thebes. In death, such characters become the center of rituals that ease social tensions by recalling that collective, unifying behavior....

    ...
    The Christian influence on his work was most apparent in “Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World,” written in 1978 and published in English in 1987. In that book he said Christianity was the only religion that had examined scapegoating and sacrifice from the victim’s point of view.

    His final work, published in 2007, posited that the mimetic competition among nations would lead to an apocalyptic confrontation unless nations could learn to renounce retaliation.​


    Pretty major over-simplifications of his theories, but dead academics have been treated to far worse in their NYT obits.
     
  4. Nacional Tijuana

    Nacional Tijuana BigSoccer Supporter

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    Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 89.
     
  5. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
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    #80 Dr. Wankler, Feb 19, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
    And the Italian semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco, 84.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/20/a...ician-and-best-selling-author-dies-at-84.html

    Umberto Eco, an Italian scholar in the arcane field of semiotics who became the author of best-selling novels, most notably the blockbuster medieval mystery “The Name of the Rose,” died on Friday in Italy. He was 84.

    Mr. Eco’s Italian publisher, Bompiani, confirmed the death, according to the Italian news agency ANSA. His family told the Italian newspaper la Repubblica that he had died at home. No cause was given. Mr. Eco had homes in Milan and Rimini; it was unclear where he had been at his death.

    As a semiotician, Mr. Eco sought to interpret cultures through their signs and symbols – words, religious icons, banners, clothing, musical scores, even cartoons – and published more than 20 nonfiction books on these subjects while teaching at the University of Bologna, Europe’s oldest university.

    But rather than segregate his academic life from his popular fiction, Mr. Eco infused his half-dozen novels with many of his scholarly preoccupations.

    In bridging these two worlds, he was never more successful than in “The Name of the Rose,” his first novel, first published in Europe in 1980. It sold more than 10 million copies in about 30 languages. (A 1986 Hollywood adaptation directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Sean Connery got only a lukewarm reception.)

     
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  6. The Biscuitman

    The Biscuitman Member+

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    2nd book was an abomination
     
  7. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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    It is.

    But I think it's a first draft, so she gets a pass. We saw what she did when she took the time to revise.
     
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  8. The Biscuitman

    The Biscuitman Member+

    Jul 4, 2007
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    Never forget, never forgive.
     
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  9. Val1

    Val1 Member+

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  10. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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  11. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

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  12. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
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    Elie Weisel - 87

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/w...-and-nobel-peace-prize-winner-dies-at-87.html


    Mr. Wiesel was the author of several dozen books and was a charismatic lecturer and humanities professor. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But he was defined not so much by the work he did as by the gaping void he filled. In the aftermath of the Germans’ systematic massacre of Jews, no voice had emerged to drive home the enormity of what had happened and how it had changed mankind’s conception of itself and of God. For almost two decades, both the traumatized survivors and American Jews, guilt-ridden that they had not done more to rescue their brethren, seemed frozen in silence.

    But by the sheer force of his personality and his gift for the haunting phrase, Mr. Wiesel, who had been liberated from Buchenwald as a 16-year-old with the indelible tattoo A-7713 on his arm, gradually exhumed the Holocaust from the burial ground of the history books.

    It was this speaking out against forgetfulness and violence that the Nobel committee recognized when it awarded him the peace prize in 1986.

    “Wiesel is a messenger to mankind,” the Nobel citation said. “His message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief.”​


    Rightfully well known as a chronicler of the horrors of the holocaust in the Night trilogy, he also wrote two volumes of memoirs, and a series of books (around ten) consisting of "portraits and legends" of great figures of Jewish spirituality ranging from Biblical figures to Talmudic scholars and heroes of the Hasidim.
     
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  13. riverplate

    riverplate Member+

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    #88 riverplate, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
    [​IMG]

    Edward Albee, Playwright of a Desperate Generation, Dies at 88
    - N.Y. Times
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/17/a...f-a-desperate-generation-dies-at-88.html?_r=0
    Edward Albee, widely considered the foremost American playwright of his generation, whose psychologically astute and piercing dramas explored the contentiousness of intimacy, the gap between self-delusion and truth and the roiling desperation beneath the facade of contemporary life, died Friday at his home in Montauk, N.Y. He was 88.

    Mr. Albee’s career began after the death of Eugene O’Neill and after Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams had produced most of their best-known plays. From them he inherited the torch of American drama, carrying it through the era of Tony Kushner and “Angels in America” and into the 21st century.

    He introduced himself suddenly and with a bang, in 1959, when his first produced play, “The Zoo Story,” opened in Berlin on a double-bill with Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape.” A two-handed one-act that unfolds in real time, “The Zoo Story” zeroed in on the existential terror at the heart of Eisenhower-era complacency, presenting the increasingly menacing intrusion of a probing, querying stranger on a man reading on a Central Park bench.
    When the play came to the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village the next year, it helped propel the burgeoning theater movement that became known as Off Broadway.

    Two years later, he rocked Broadway with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The three-act, three-hour, foul-mouthed and booze-and-sex-drenched play was a portrait of the tortured union of George and Martha, a academia couple at a small college who compete at drinking, cosmic disappointment, wounding one another and competing as to who can more savagely “get the guests.”

    The play shocked many, thrilled many more, and helped usher in a more brazen era of American playwriting. It also solidified Mr. Albee’s reputation as an uncompromising talent with a razor-like intelligence for the foibles and terrors of modern American—and particularly married American—life. Many count the original production, which starred Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill, as one of the most seismic cultural events ever to grace the Broadway stage.

    The play was so controversial in its time, it was denied the Pulitzer Prize. Albee was later presented with the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for “A Delicate Balance in 1967, “Seascape in 1975 and “Three Tall Women in 1994. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was selected for the Pulitzer in 1963, but an advisory committee overruled the nomination because of the play’s use of profanity and sexual themes, and no award for theater was presented that year.

    It did capture the Tony Award for best play, as did “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” in 2002, his first new work on Broadway in nearly 20 years. Albee was awarded a special Tony for lifetime achievement in 2005. The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters handed him the Gold Medal in Drama in 1980, and in 1996, he received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
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    W. P. Kinsella, most famous for Shoeless Joe, the novel on which the movie Field of Dreams is based, dies at 81.

    [​IMG]


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...whose-book-inspired-field-of-dreams-has-died/

    http://www.latimes.com/books/la-me-wp-kinsella-20160916-snap-story.html

    It's unfortunate that many of his later, non-baseball books dropped out of sight because of that idiotic ruling in the mid-80s that subjected publishers to a tax on their inventory, AKA the backlist. It became cheaper to liquidate copies rather than keep them around until the author finds his or her audience (and vice versa). So Shoeless Joe remains in print, but his outstanding series of novels set in and around First Nation reservations are difficult to find.
     
  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
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    Italian playwright and (deserving) Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo, 90

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/a...-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

    ... “Imagine a cross between Bertolt Brecht and Lenny Bruce and you may begin to have an idea of the scope of Fo’s anarchic art,” Mel Gussow wrote in The New York Times in 1983.

    Basing their art on the tradition of the medieval jester and the improvisation techniques of commedia dell’arte, Mr. Fo and Ms. Rame thrilled, dismayed and angered audiences around the world. Together they staged thousands of performances, in conventional theaters, factories occupied by striking workers, university sit-ins, city parks, prisons and even deconsecrated churches.

    “We’ve had to endure abuse, assaults by the police, insults from the right-thinking and violence,” Mr. Fo said in his Nobel lecture.

    The worst episode occurred in 1973 — after a Fo play criticizing the police was presented in Milan — when his wife was kidnapped, tortured and raped by a fascist group later found to have links to members of the carabinieri, the Italian federal police. But Mr. Fo and Ms. Rame riled opponents across the political spectrum.

    In 1968, Mr. Fo became persona non grata in much of Communist Europe after he withdrew all rights to the performance of his plays in Czechoslovakia to protest the Soviet-led invasion that toppled the reform Communist government there.

    He and his wife were also repeatedly denied entry into the United States because of their ties to the Italian Communist Party.

    The couple finally received a brief waiver for the 1984 Broadway opening of “Accidental Death of an Anarchist.”

    Mr. Fo attributed the State Department’s change of heart to the intervention of President Ronald Reagan, a former actor. It was, Mr. Fo said dryly, “the gesture of a colleague.” Two years later Mr. Fo and his wife were again allowed to visit, this time to make their joint American debut as performers.​

     
  16. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
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    Unlikely author, known mostly for his short stories, Thom Jones, 71

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/b...lights&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=sectionfront


    Thom Jones grew up in a gritty Illinois factory town. His father abandoned the family and was later committed to a mental institution, where he hanged himself. When Thom was still a teenager, he joined the Marines. Savagely beaten in a boxing match at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and mistakenly given a diagnosis of schizophrenia, he was discharged — to his great good fortune: All the members of his reconnaissance unit but one were killed in Vietnam.

    Mr. Jones worked on the Betty Crocker Noodles Almondine line at a General Mills plant. He was fired as an advertising copywriter because, he was told, a client would not countenance his proposed slogan for the Jolly Green Giant — which was more or less, with an expletive inserted, “These are the best peas I ever ate.”

    Recovering from alcoholism and addiction to prescription drugs, Mr. Jones was 47 and working nights as a janitor in a Lacey, Wash., high school when he mailed, unsolicited, a fictionalized Vietnam War story to The New Yorker. It was admired so immediately that it bypassed the usual vetting by multiple editors and sailed into print in late 1991, receiving critical acclaim, and the O. Henry Award in 1993 for best short story.​


    See what I mean? This is not the usual path to The New Yorker


    His ferocious, semiautobiographical short stories about boxers, custodians, soldiers, crime victims, cancer patients and asylum inmates coupled a fateful machismo — the eternal pessimist Arthur Schopenhauer was his hero — with grim humor.

    “These are people you wouldn’t want living next door to you,” he said in an interview with The Mississippi Review in 1999. “Even I wouldn’t want them living next door. But it’s fun to drop in on them occasionally and see what sort of preposterous activities they are up to.”

    ....
    In 1999, Mr. Jones ended a meteoric decade with another well-received anthology, “Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine.” He later worked on screenplays and a novel.

    “I channeled my obsessive-compulsive behavior into my writing and soon found that if I wrote a lot each and every day, a kind of psychological integration took place within me and a form of peace became available,” he told The Mississippi Review.

    “I wasn’t good at anything,” he continued, “never had a job I liked, but there were books and writers that essentially saved my life, kept me going.” He read them in the school library on breaks from his job as a janitor.​

     
  17. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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    Irish-born author known mostly for short stories William Trevor, 88.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/b...-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

    Mr. Trevor, who was Irish by birth and upbringing but a longtime resident of Britain, placed his fiction squarely in the middle of ordinary life. His plots often unfolded in Irish or English villages whose inhabitants, most of them hanging on to the bottom rung of the lower middle class, waged unequal battle with capricious fate. His cast of characters, nearly all of the middling sort, was extraordinarily varied.

    “Trevor has fashioned a remarkable gallery of contemporary figures,” the critic Ted Solotaroff wrote of “Beyond the Pale and Other Stories” in The New York Times in 1982. “His farmers and priests and men of the turf are as convincing and suggestive as his Hempstead aesthetes, his suburban swingers, his old-boy homosexuals, his mod clerks and shopgirls. Nothing seems alien to him; he captures the moral atmosphere of a sleek advertising agency, of a shabby West End dance hall, of a minor public school, of a shotgun wedding in an Irish pub.”


    He also wrote twenty novels. Felicia's Journey was a good one. Not a bad movie, either.

    [​IMG]


     
  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
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    She's in the famous person is dead thread, but she should be here, too.

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-carrie-fisher-obit-20161227-story.html


    ...But the shadow of “Star Wars” was not easy to escape, and it wasn’t until Fisher turned to writing with the semi-autobiographical 1987 novel “Postcards from the Edge” that she began to define herself outside of the role of Princess Leia.

    In “Postcards from the Edge,” Fisher satirized her own acting career, her offscreen struggle with drug abuse and bipolar disorder and her sometimes stormy relationship with her mother. (The bond between Fisher and Reynolds is explored in of an upcoming HBO documentary, “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.”) “Postcards from the Edge” was adapted for the big screen by director Mike Nichols in 1990 and went on to launch an entirely new career for Fisher as a bestselling author and screenwriter.

    Though Fisher’s facility as a writer may have surprised fans who only knew her from her work in the galaxy far, far away, it was hardly news to those who knew her best.

    “I started reading really early – I wanted to impress my father, who is unimpressable” she told The Times in 2008. “My family called me ‘the bookworm’ and they didn’t say it in a nice way. I fell in love with words…. By about 16 I wanted to be Dorothy Parker.”

    Fisher went on to write several more novels, including “Surrender the Pink” and “Delusions of Grandma,” and, again using her life as material, published a 2008 memoir called “Wishful Drinking,” based on a one-woman show she had performed on Broadway. Less publicly, she also earned steady work as one of the film industry’s most in-demand script doctors. ​

     
  19. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

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    Scholar of world Religion Huston Smith, 97

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/01/u...n-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    Professor Smith was best known for “The Religions of Man” (1958), which has been a standard textbook in college-level comparative religion classes for half a century. In 1991, it was abridged and given the gender-neutral title “The World’s Religions.” The two versions together have sold more than three million copies.

    The book examines the world’s major faiths as well as those of indigenous peoples, observing that all express the Absolute, which is indescribable, and concluding with a kind of golden rule for mutual understanding and coexistence: “If, then, we are to be true to our own faith, we must attend to others when they speak, as deeply and as alertly as we hope they will attend to us.”

    “It is the most important book in comparative religious studies ever,” Stephen Prothero, a professor of religion at Boston University, said in an interview.

    Professor Smith may have reached his widest audience in 1996, when Bill Moyers put him at the center of a five-part PBS series, “The Wisdom of Faith With Huston Smith.” (Each installment began with a Smith quotation: “If we take the world’s enduring religions at their best, we discover the distilled wisdom of the human race.”)

    Richard D. Hecht, a professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, called Professor Smith “one of the three greatest interpreters of religion for general readers in the second half of the 20th century,” the others being Joseph Campbell and, in Britain, Roderick Ninian Smart.

    Professor Smith, whose last teaching post was at the University of California, Berkeley, had an interest in religion that transcended the academic. In his joyful pursuit of enlightenment — to “turn our flashes of insight into abiding light,” as he put it — he meditated with Tibetan Buddhist monks, practiced yoga with Hindu holy men, whirled with ecstatic Sufi Islamic dervishes, chewed peyote with Mexican Indians and celebrated the Jewish Sabbath with a daughter who had converted to Judaism.


    Given that mortality is a part of the human condition, the passing of a 97 year old man isn't as mournful as other deaths, but this guy led an interesting life and wrote several readable books.

    Even many of his readers don't know his role in the psychedelic revolution...


    It was through psychedelic drugs in the early 1960s that Professor Smith believed he came closest to experiencing God. Leary, a Harvard professor who championed mind-altering substances, recruited Professor Smith to help in an investigation of psychedelic drugs. At the time, Professor Smith was teaching philosophy nearby at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Leary thought that he had had a profound religious experience in Mexico in August 1960 when he first ate psilocybin mushrooms, which can produce hallucinations. Accordingly, he wanted religious experts to be part of his Harvard Psilocybin Project for the study of mind-altering drugs. Richard Alpert, a colleague in Harvard’s psychology department, was a critical figure in the initiative. (He later took the name Ram Dass.)...​

     
  20. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
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    nathentoff.jpg

    Nat Hentoff

    Sigh. While Hentoff isn't one of my big five (columnists I started reading in high school and subsequently followed for over 30 years), he is one of the journalists I have followed across magazines and newspapers. I really did buy a Playboy "for the article". While it was easy in my mind to pile onto the presidencies of Reagan and the Bushes, it was instructive for me to read his critiques of Clinton and Obama. I like to think that Hentoff was the journalist who kept me grounded.

    Hentoff's first love was jazz, and he is the first non-musician named a "jazz master" by the NEA. I'm not sure exactly what the honorific means, but it looks good. I tried reading one of his books on jazz, but even his fine reading couldn't save it for me.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/nyregion/nat-hentoff-dead.html?_r=0
     
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  21. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
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    John Berger, best known as an art critic, but also a damn fine fiction writer and cultural commentator, 90


    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/a...latest&contentPlacement=9&pgtype=sectionfront



    In 1974, when his critical influence was probably at its height in Britain, he left London for Paris and then Geneva. He later decided to leave cities altogether, moving to a remote peasant community, Quincy, in the French Alps, where he lived with his wife, Beverly Bancroft, who died in 2013, and their son, Yves. (Besides his son, he is survived by another son, Jacob, and a daughter, Katya, from a previous marriage.)

    In the Alps, where he learned to raise cattle, he wrote a trilogy of unconventional books called “Into Their Labors” — comminglings of short story, poetry and essay — examining the migration of peasants away from their traditions and into cities.

    He also successfully dabbled in screenwriting, collaborating with the director Alain Tanner on three films, including the critically praised “Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000” (1976) about a group of radical idealists trying to stay true to their principles. His novel “From A to X” was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2008, and in 2016, Mr. Berger was the subject of an anthology documentary, “The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger,” directed in part by the actress Tilda Swinton, a friend.

    Despite his many forays into hard-to-classify forms of writing, he returned again and again to the essay, the bedrock of his reputation, whose underlying theme was almost always the impossibility of disentangling the aesthetic from the moral: A 1992 piece described the annual task of mucking the pit beneath his outhouse, an odious job but one that offered many of the same lessons that great art had taught him.

    “Nothing in the nature around us is evil,” he wrote. “This needs to be repeated since one of the human ways of talking oneself into inhuman acts is to cite the supposed cruelty of nature.”​

     
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  22. victorcalello38

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  23. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
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    Paula Fox, author of six pretty heavy novels, two memoirs, and 20 children's books, at 93.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/...-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well


    [​IMG]
    Paula Fox offered closely observed portraits of loss and abandonment. It was terrain she knew all too well.
    Paula Fox, a distinguished writer for children and adults whose work illuminated lives filled with loss, dislocation and abandonment, conditions she knew firsthand from a very early age, died on Wednesday in Brooklyn. She was 93.

    ...

    Ms. Fox wrote a half-dozen novels for adults and more than 20 books for young people. What united her output was a cool, elegant style that was haunting in its pared-down economy; minute observation; masterly control of tone and pacing; and an abiding concern with dissolution — of family, of home, of health, of trust.

    Her characters are complex, self-contained and often withdrawn, but their ruminative interior states lend the narratives a quiet luminosity.

    Ms. Fox’s best-known novel for adults is “Desperate Characters” (1970), about the disintegration of a marriage. It was made into a film of the same title, released the next year and starring Shirley MacLaine and Kenneth Mars.

    She was awarded the Newbery Medal, considered the Pulitzer Prize of children’s literature, in 1974 for “The Slave Dancer,” a controversial novel centered on the Atlantic slave trade in the mid-19th century.

    Her work also includes two memoirs: “Borrowed Finery” (2001), about her peripatetic childhood, and “The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe” (2005), about her young womanhood.​

     
  24. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
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    Damn.

    And part of me wants to damn you, Wankler, for ruining my Sunday morning. But then, I never should have opened this thread before I go to church.




    And now I'm doubly pissed. I wanted to post the vid of Henry Higgins walking down the street going damn, damn, damn, damn. And it's not on youtube. This is a doubly sucky morning.
     
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