The Mountain Lion

The Mountain Lion

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Overview

The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford

Eight-year-old Molly and her ten-year-old brother Ralph are inseparable, in league with each other against the stodgy and stupid routines of school and daily life; against their prim mother and prissy older sisters; against the world of authority and perhaps the world itself. One summer they are sent from the genteel Los Angeles suburb that is their home to backcountry Colorado, where their uncle Claude has a ranch. There the children encounter an enchanting new world—savage, direct, beautiful, untamed—to which, over the next few years, they will return regularly, enjoying a delicious double life. And yet at the same time this other sphere, about which they are both so passionate, threatens to come between their passionate attachment to each other. Molly dreams of growing up to be a writer, yet clings ever more  fiercely to the special world of childhood. Ralph for his part feels the growing challenge, and appeal, of impending manhood. Youth and innocence are hurtling toward a devastating end.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590173527
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 08/10/2010
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jean Stafford (1915–1979) was born in Covina, California, the youngest of four children. When she was five her father, an unsuccessful writer of Westerns, lost the bulk of his inherited fortune on the stock exchange. The impoverished family, forced to move, eventually resettled in Boulder, Colorado. Stafford excelled as a student, earning both a B.A. and an M.A. in four years on a scholarship at the University of Colorado, but her college years were marked by poverty as well as by the suicide of her friend Lucy McKee, who shot herself in Stafford’s presence. A fellowship from the University of Heidelberg enabled
Stafford to study philology abroad following her graduation. Shortly after her return she met the poet Robert Lowell, whom she married in
New York City in 1940. In 1944 she published her first book, Boston
Adventure, a best selling novel of manners, and her second and most highly acclaimed novel, The Mountain Lion, followed in 1947—years which also brought the collapse of her marriage to Lowell and a stay in a psychiatric hospital. Stafford began to write short stories, and by
1948, the year in which she received a Guggenheim Fellowship, her work was regularly appearing in The New Yorker. In 1952 Stafford published a third novel, The Catherine Wheel, and in 1970 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her Collected Stories.
Stafford was married twice more—to Life editor Oliver Jensen and to the writer A. J. Liebling—but lived out her last fifteen years alone.
She suffered a stroke in 1976 and died three years later in White
Plains, New York, leaving her entire estate to her cleaning woman.

Kathryn Davis is the author of many novels, including Labrador,
The Girl Who Trod on a LoafHellThe Walking TourThe Thin
Place, and Versailles. She is the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2006 Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. She teaches at
Washington University in St. Louis and lives in Vermont.

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