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From Barnes & Noble"You don't choose the writer's life, the writer's life chooses you."
When Grimes first meets Frank Conroy (then director of the legendary Iowa Writers' Workshop), he tells him he recently applied to the program.
Conroy's response? "Yeah, you and eight hundred others." But Grimes was not only accepted; he was offered the top scholarship — an auspicious beginning. Grimes wanted to write big books, masterpieces. While he was still a student, his second novel sold at auction, with four prestigious publishing houses bidding. Conroy, who had taken Grimes under his wing — first as a student, and later as a friend and surrogate son — reveled in his protégé's success, and promised more to come.
Thus Grimes was ill prepared for what came next: poor and mixed reviews, dejection, and abandonment from the publishing maw. Few writers experience Grimes's triumphant rise into the life that had chosen him, but many share his failures. What sets his story apart is his relationship with Conroy, whose support and encouragement were unflagging. "It's taken me twenty years to understand that our unexpected friendship, rather than my novel, was the real work of art," writes Grimes. Mentor is both touching and sobering — an honest book about writing, packed with excellent advice. And a fascinating and heartfelt tribute to a man—not for the books he wrote but for the gruff, often unspoken love he gave.