Learning to Fly: A Writer's Memoir

Overview

A literary testament showing how Mary Lee Settle's great novels followed the map of her remarkable life.
Two years before her death in 2005, Mary Lee Settle sat down "to trace the way that led me into the writer I have been for fifty years." The result is this memoir, which picks up her life story where Addie (1998) left it, with a girl turning twenty, head over heels in love with the language of Shakespeare and determined to be an actress. That summer of 1938 her mother sends ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (33) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $7.93   
  • Used (28) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$7.93
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(16020)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
W. W. Norton & Company, 08/17/2007, Hardcover, Brand New! New dust jacket.

Ships from: Frederick, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(223)

Condition: New
New York, NY 2007 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. Book Appears Unread Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 224 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: ... General/trade. Read more Show Less

Ships from: WEST ISLIP, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.03
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(23415)

Condition: New
BRAND NEW

Ships from: Avenel, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$15.37
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(887)

Condition: New
0393057321 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!

Ships from: Springfield, VA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$16.01
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(165)

Condition: New
2007-08-17 Hardcover New The item is from a closeout sale from bookstore. A great book in new condition! Inquires welcomed and we want your complete satisfaction! Eligible for ... FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided in your Amazon account with every order. Item is Brand New! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Savannah, GA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

A literary testament showing how Mary Lee Settle's great novels followed the map of her remarkable life.
Two years before her death in 2005, Mary Lee Settle sat down "to trace the way that led me into the writer I have been for fifty years." The result is this memoir, which picks up her life story where Addie (1998) left it, with a girl turning twenty, head over heels in love with the language of Shakespeare and determined to be an actress. That summer of 1938 her mother sends Mary Lee off to a theater apprenticeship, inadvertently setting her on a road few women of that era would have dared to travel. The road will lead to serious, "uncompromised" writing and over twenty books, including her masterwork, The Beulah Quintet. The adventures along the way—from the glamour of New York during the World's Fair, through the terrors of London during the Blitz, to the trials and triumphs of the postwar literary world—will delight, inform, and alarm the reader of this thoroughly modern Canterbury Tale.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
Even in its unfinished state, it is coherently structured and sufficiently complete to be welcomed as a real book rather than a posthumous fragment. Edited by Anne Hobson Freeman, Settle's friend and fellow writer, Learning to Fly comes as an unexpected gift, a memoir that can be read as a supplement to her previous autobiographical work but that also stands entirely on its own.
—The Washington Post
Alex Kuczynski
Readers of Settle's previous memoirs will find some of the terrain here familiar, particularly her experiences in England during World War II… But there's enough new material to entice readers along…In the end,…Learning to Fly most vividly captures postwar New York and London and illustrates the emotions of a writer both keenly aware of how others perceive her and less emotionally well-armored than many of her colleagues.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Settle, who died in 2005, won the National Book Award in 1978 for Blood Tiesand was the founder of the PEN/Faulkner Prize. Two years before her death Settle wanted "to trace the path that led me into being the writer I have become." This remarkable memoir is the result. Edited by Freeman, the story begins in the summer of 1938, when Settle, an independent 20-year-old, is intent on becoming an actress. After an internship at the Barter Theatre in Virginia, where she learned "some of the most valuable lessons as a writer I have ever had," Settle moves to New York, where she lands a modeling job during the glamorous time of the World's Fair. She vividly depicts a long vanished world, peopled with White Russians, aristocratic English women and ancient splay-footed nannies: "We were not aware yet that everything we took for granted was disappearing or changing, like a shaken kaleidoscope, not of colors but time and sound and habit and decision." She recounts through exquisite detail and language how her roles as a wartime bride and young mother, a signals operator with the Women's Auxiliary of the Royal Air Force, and freelance journalist, forged her commitment to becoming a writer. Filled with adventure and insight, this is a delightfully literate recounting of a life lived to its fullest. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

American writer Settle (1918-2005) is best known for her historical novels, particularly the National Book Award-winning Blood Tie(1977). Her founding of the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award further roots her in literary history. More recently, The Beulah Quintet, a series of novels moving from the 17th through the 20th centuries, awakened critical interest and brought recognition of Settle's contribution to the development of historical fiction. This memoir, which she began in 2003 and picks up where Addie(1998) left off, follows her from her first passion, acting, to vibrant young womanhood on a life journey beginning in Depression-era West Virginia and continuing on to New York City, where she launched a modest but successful career as an actress and model. In the half century that followed, she tirelessly devoted herself to rendering ideas of justice and freedom into reliable works of fiction and nonfiction. Settle's memoir reveals a woman of sharp, uncompromising intelligence and wit and is sure to entice readers into discovering her novels. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.
—Katharine A. Webb

Kirkus Reviews
When she died in 2005, novelist and memoirist Settle (Spanish Recognitions: The Roads to the Present, 2004, etc.) was still working on this affecting memoir of her experiences before, during and after World War II. Is some Settle better than none? Editor Freeman certainly thinks so, and much of this justifies her judgment. Although Freeman says the text lacks only the "final touches," it is missing much more-not just sections the author certainly would have expanded or added but also stylistic consistency. Still, there is much to admire and make us wish for more. Settle begins in the pivotal summer of 1938, when, in love with Shakespeare and animated by her experiences at Virginia's Barter Theatre, the 19-year-old decided to eschew her undergraduate career at Sweet Briar and flee to New York to seek her fortune. She had some successes (she rode an elevator with Harpo Marx, got to read for Scarlett O'Hara), some failures (she was certain William Castle was going to use her in a film; he didn't). She tried modeling, and then, not long after Hitler invaded Poland, married a young Englishman and delivered his child; they separated during the war. Gradually, Settle began to realize that she was a writer. It's not a profession you choose, she notes: "You are conscripted." She tried poems and journalism and propaganda, working in England for the Office of War Information, before she transformed herself into a novelist with the ferocious determination and tenacity to endure the myriad rejections she received before The Love Eaters was accepted in 1953. Settle likes to talk about the literary celebrities she knew. There are good set pieces here about a nice lunch with Eliot and a nasty encounterwith Maugham. So, is some Settle better than none? A resounding yes.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393057324
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/20/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Lee Settle won the National Book Award for her novel Blood Ties and was the founder of the PEN/Faulkner Prize. She died in 2005.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Introduction     1
Prelude to the Summer of 1938     7
From Barter to Manhattan     12
The Last Grand Summer     29
Waiting     41
Toronto     53
Prewar in the United States, 1941-1942     67
Thirteen Months in the WAAF     76
London, 1944     93
Leaving     122
The Turning Year     134
The Apprenticeship     145
Another Country     151
Mr. Eliot     165
Coronation     173
Nine Years     176
Maugham     178
My Paris     192
Epilogue     203
Glimpse of Tom     211
Acknowledgments     225
Photograph Credits     226
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)