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Titre : Compass Points: How I Lived
Éditeur : Pantheon Books, New York
Date d'édition : 2001
Reliure : Hardcover
Etat du livre : Near Fine
Etat de la jaquette : Near Fine
Signé : Signed By Author
Edition : First Edition.
Slight rubbing and minor nicks to jacket; else a near fine copy internally. , 293 pages. Memoir of the noted Vermont-based writer; "A pithy mix of family history and personal insight . transforms one man's story into an American saga" (jacket front flyleaf). Notable for lower jacket cover blurbs by Guy Davenport, Alfred Kazin, Annie Proulx, Philip Roth and Robert Stone. Boldly signed by Hoagland in blue ink on publisher's printed paper label attached to front free endpaper. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" Tall. N° de réf. du libraire L059732
Synopsis : For nearly fifty years Edward Hoagland has proven himself to be, in the words of William Kittredge, "one of our basic writers"--a writer whose novels, essays, and travel books have demonstrated a "pungency, directness, and his special gift for finding joy in the most unexpected places" (Alfred Kazin).
In Compass Points, Hoagland looks back over his life in an attempt to discern the fundamental directions in which he is traveling, and he tells a story that embraces some of the contradictions and complexities of human experience. It reflects with elegance Hoagland's intransigent honesty, his protean ardor, and, most important, his generosity. Here, family and friends, wives and lovers, mentors and fellow writers are given their due in a life's reckoning that is shrewd in observation, marvelously crafted, rapturous in its
acceptance and appreciation. A pithy mix of family history and personal insight, Compass Points transforms one man's story into an American saga.
Critique: This engaging memoir has the same plainspoken eloquence and down-to-earth intelligence that distinguish Edward Hoagland's nature and travel writing, from Tigers & Ice to African Calliope. Compass Points opens with an account of the gradual loss of his eyesight in the 1980s, characteristically detailed and utterly lacking in self-pity: blindness made it hard to grade papers or indulge his love of walking, he writes, but it was great for his sex life, and for some reason his lifelong stutter improved. Surgery finally restored his vision, and a new look at the world prompted the writer to turn toward autobiography. Lucid, frank, and funny, his recollections range from an affluent WASP childhood in New York City and its suburbs to joining the circus in 1951 at age 18, then marrying and divorcing twice as he roamed the world and discovered his vocation. Hoagland began his writing career as a novelist, and his early fiction was fairly well received, so that readers can only be grateful that he concluded, after a few books, that he was better suited to the "familiar, unassuming" tone of the personal essay. That intimate tone binds the rambling text together, as he pauses in his personal chronicle to muse on the nature of friendship (we need both the fair- and foul-weather kinds, he concludes), the burdens and benefits of aging, or some other more general topic. There's literary gossip, too--after all, Archibald MacLeish and Alfred Kazin were his teachers, John Berryman was a friend, and Norman Podhoretz was his second wife's boss at Commentary. But the focus rightly remains on Hoagland's life experiences and thoughts, in this deceptively casual but artfully organized narrative. --Wendy Smith
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