Lives of the Poets: A Novella and Six Stories

Lives of the Poets: A Novella and Six Stories

by E. L. Doctorow
     
 

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A young boy is asked to maintain the fiction that his father is alive. A young woman is shot at by a hunter. A schoolgirl dies in an exploding car. In Lives of the Poets, six tense, poignant, and mysterious stories are followed by a novella in which the writer emerges from his work to reveal his own mind. Here the images and the themes of the earlier stories

Overview

A young boy is asked to maintain the fiction that his father is alive. A young woman is shot at by a hunter. A schoolgirl dies in an exploding car. In Lives of the Poets, six tense, poignant, and mysterious stories are followed by a novella in which the writer emerges from his work to reveal his own mind. Here the images and the themes of the earlier stories become part of the narrator's unsparing confessions about his own life. Seperated from his family, he chronicles the edgy urban landscape around him, discusses marriages that fail but continue to entangle spouses, the influence of wives and other women, and the obsessions that haunt him. And in this brilliant, funny, and painful story about the story, the writer's mind in all its aspects - its formal compositions, its naked secrets - emerges as a rare look at the creative process and its connection to the heart.

An astonishing work, Lives of the Poets varies from realistic to dreamlike to become a virtuoso performance by E.L. Doctorow, deftly done by an author in total control of his craft, aware both of the enormity of his talent... and of the price it exacts.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Extraordinary beauty and power . . . a book to fall in love with.”—Chicago Tribune Book World
 
“Better than any fiction I know, Lives of the Poets illuminates the sources from which fiction springs.”—Newsweek
 
“Doctorow is an impeccable stylist, a man who writes with exceptional clarity and precision.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Invaluable . . . Doctorow’s subtlest work of fiction.”—New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452278790
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/15/1997
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.53(d)

Meet the Author

E. L. Doctorow’s works of fiction include Welcome to Hard Times, The Book of Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, Billy Bathgate, The Waterworks, City of God, The March, Homer & Langley, and Andrew’s Brain. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle awards, two PEN/Faulkner awards, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN/ Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to an author whose “scale of achievement over a sustained career places him in the highest rank of American literature.” In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction. In 2014 he was honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Sag Harbor, New York, and New York, New York
Date of Birth:
January 6, 1931
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
A.B., Kenyon College, 1952; postgraduate study, Columbia University, 1952-53
Website:
http://www.randomhouse.com/atrandom/doctorow/

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