Friday, March 20, 2009

Biography Bonanza

Tis the season for literary biographies. Three of the four cover reviews in March in the Sunday Book Review of the New York Times (including the one coming this Sunday, the 22nd) feature new biographies of famous American authors.

Brad Gooch's new book, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor (Little, Brown & Co), reviewed by Joy Williams, started the literary parade on March 1st. O'Connor, who died in 1964, was a novelist and short story writer, perhaps best known for her collection A Good Man is Hard to Find.

On March 15th, Geoffrey Wolf reviewed Cheever: A Life (Knopf), by Blake Blailey, author of the fascinating biography of Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road). Cheever, who died in 1982, was also best known for his short fiction but also published several novels, including The Wapshot Chronicle, Bullet Park, and Falconer.

And this Sunday we get Colm Toibin's review of Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme (St. Martin's Press), written by Tracy Daugherty, professor of English at Oregon State University. Barthelme, who died in 1989, published 126 short stories in The New Yorker in his career and published sixteen books in his lifetime, including four novels. Toibin calls this book an "admiring, comprehensive, and painstaking" biography of Barthelme.

We have all these books, so come read up on these great and interesting American authors.

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