March 3, 2013
THE BRIDGE BUILDER:
Evan S. Connell: A Master Of Fact And Fiction (ALAN CHEUSE, January 12, 2013, NPR)
For most of his career, Connell had two reading publics: those folks who admired his fiction and those who admired his nonfiction. The first group scarcely kept him in supplies. Connell began writing after a stint as a Navy pilot during the Second World War, and then a return to Kansas to finish his undergraduate degree. But he always had a day job -- first working as a clerk in San Francisco, and later reading utility meters in Santa Cruz. Only after the huge success of his Custer book, Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn, did he have some money to put away for old age.Connell was one of my early writing heroes. I met him at a signing for my first novel, some 30 years ago in a San Francisco bookstore called Minerva's Owl. He walked in, introduced himself to me, and bought three books that he asked me to sign. One for him, and the others for family members back in Kansas City. I never forgot that gesture of his -- who could? The writer's writer, doffing his cap to a new young fiction novice. What a thrilling moment! Over the years we met a few times, over coffee or a drink, and once at what he called his favorite breakfast place in Marin County -- which turned out to be a McDonald's in Mill Valley.
Mrs. Bridge is one of those classic novels where the author loses control of his own narrative.
Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2013 8:09 AM