Do I Owe You Something? A Memoir of the Literary Life

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2003 Hardcover NEW/UNUSED/UNMARKED/UNREAD from the Publisher. May have very minor blemishes to the exterior due to contact with other copies, not affecting the text. Books are ... Intact. Not a Remainder, Return, or Previously Owned. U.S. Domestic Tracking/Confirmation Included. Via USPS, Will Ship International, APO/FPO/DPO, PO Boxes, all US 50 States/Territories, Priority and please inquire for Express. All orders are packed carefully/securely, with packing materials to help with quality control, so you may receive your order as described or better, and shipped directly from our facility to provide fast/personal service [Canada/Domestic]. We do our best to ship before expected shipping date and provide honest descriptions. [Note: Residential/Office Deliveries-Please give details on your order how you would like your package left so we may help prevent loss. Once USPS confirms delivery, we are no longer responsible for the item. ] Please contact us anytime for assistance. Thank you for your business! Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Here's an author's nightmare: in 1977, as a young novelist, Mewshaw published an interview with Graham Greene. Mewshaw had a passing acquaintance with Greene and based the highly flattering piece on past conversation and the interview. After reading the piece, Greene fired off a letter expressing his "real horror," noting no other "journalist has done worse for me than you" before detailing every error he found. Mewshaw prints their correspondence as they slug it out, and the result is energizing and amusing. Throughout this literary memoir, Mewshaw recounts his interactions with literati, portraying himself-inadvertently at times-as all too human in his interactions with the famous. (Mewshaw himself, while much younger when he had these interactions, is the author of nine novels and five nonfiction books.) His anecdotes are humorous-e.g., after interviewing James Jones, he reminded the notoriously blunt novelist he hadn't "heard you say `fuck' a single time"-and he deftly conveys his subjects with humanity and colorful, exaggerated detail. Mewshaw intersperses his literary career with his friendships with better known writers. His encounter with Anthony Burgess comes about because of Mewshaw's kind words about Burgess's novel Walking Slow, but ends with the humbling experience of an indulgent, overextended Burgess asking, "Do I owe you something? A letter? A recommendation? Money?" Written in a chatty, vibrant style, Mewshaw's memoir is not the stuff of great literature, but a good read with great gossip about himself and others. (Apr.) Forecast: Putnam is publishing Mewshaw's new novel, Shelter from the Storm (Forecasts, Mar. 3), this month, which should heighten interest in the memoir. Look for a PW Interview with Mewshaw in the coming weeks. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Mewshaw, a prolific journalist and the author of five books of nonfiction and nine novels, has written a memoir of his wandering life. His interest in writing and writers has led to relationships with such 20th-century literary giants as William Styron, James Jones, Paul Bowles, and Gore Vidal, and he recounts these relationships with a journalist's eye for detail and a novelist's skillful storytelling. The anecdotes range from the amusing (e.g., calling on Anthony Burgess's wife in Rome only to have her disappear, leaving him to babysit her precocious son for hours) to the complicated (e.g., when Mewshaw's review of a book by the wife of Robert Penn Warren ends their friendship). Despite hobnobbing with literary giants, Mewshaw remains always the student, humble and slightly in awe, despite his own literary accomplishments. This book will appeal to those who want to write and like to read about those who do. Recommended for larger public libraries.-Nancy R. Ives, State Univ. of New York at Geneseo Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Journalist and novelist Mewshaw (Shelter from the Storm, Mar. 2003, etc.) recalls his days as a fledgling in the tree of literature and examines the myriad influences of big birds named Garrett, Styron, Jones, Bowles, and Vidal. There are some dazzling moments in this uneven memoir: James Jones’s catty comment about Hemingway’s oral sex with his shotgun is worth the cover price all by itself; and the long final chapter about Gore Vidal, with asides featuring Pat Conroy and Norman Mailer, coruscates with its subject’s wit. (Vidal once quipped, claims Mewshaw, that the three saddest words in the English language are "Joyce Carol Oates.") The author can gore literary bulls, too. Accompanied by a tall model in an Italian restaurant, for example, Mailer "looked like a tiny tot in a Halloween costume." But Mewshaw is drawn to celebrities like a fly to cream pie. He begins by describing how he convinced George Garrett to let him into a writing seminar at the University of Virginia, then segues into accounts of drinking with William Styron, dining with Harold Robbins and Robert Penn Warren and Anthony Burgess and Paul Bowles and Graham Greene (not at the same time). He chatted with Sharon Stone, saw Lindsay Wagner naked, and had a surreal shopping spree with Estelle Parsons in the desert. Mewshaw shows the sense to be self-deprecating at times; he publishes a strong letter from Graham Greene complaining about his published profile of the English writer, and he occasionally admits to various personal and professional failures. But he also seems more than determined to portray himself as an unjustly overlooked novelist, quoting—sometimes at length—flattering comments from Styron, Warren,and Burgess. Errors and careless prose undercut his claims. He attributes to Chairman Mao a quotation from Lao Tzu, misspells Edgar Allan Poe’s middle name several times, and too frequently finds language that is conventional rather than novel. Occasionally engaging, but too often lost among the stars.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807128527
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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