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The first and highly anticipated biography of the author of such classics of suspense as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The life of Patricia Highsmith was as secretive and unusual as that of many of the best-known characters who people her "peerlessly disturbing" writing. Yet even as her work - her thrillers, short stories, and the pseudonymous lesbian novel The Price of Salt- have found new popularity in the last few years, the life of this famously elusive writer has remained a mystery. For Beautiful Shadow, the first biography of Highsmith, journalist Andrew Wilson mined the vast archive of diaries, notebooks, and letters that Patricia Highsmith left behind, astonishing in their candor and detail. He interviewed her closest friends and colleagues as well as some of her many lovers. But Wilson also traces Highsmith's literary roots in the work of Poe, noir, and existentialism, locating the influences that helped distinguish Highsmith's writing so startlingly from more ordinary thrillers. The result is both a serious critical biography and one that reveals much about a brilliant and contradictory woman, one who despite her acclaim and affairs always maintained her solitude. Andrew Wilson is a journalist who has written for most of Britain's national newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, and the Daily Mail. This is his first book. Whitbread Prize Nominee Patricia Highsmith, the celebrated author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, was renowned as a suspense writer during her lifetime, and in recent years a revival of her chilling and highly original body of work has brought her even wider recognition. She was notoriously evasive about both the sources of her fiction and her private life. But with her death in February 1995, Highsmith left behind a vast archive of diaries, notebooks, and letters extraordinary in their candor and detail. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, into an unhappy marriage, Highsmith saw herself as an outsider even as a child. She was fascinated by Edgar Allan Poe and the case histories in Dr. Karl Menninger's The Human Mind, and by her teenage years she was exploring similar dark psychological themes in her own writing. As a college student in New York City and throughout her life, she conducted a series of passionate affairs with women who often also served as mentors or muses--many of whom speak here about Highsmith for the first time. Yet these romances were always more alluring in the ideal than in reality, and Highsmith found her greatest lasting happiness in her work. Using Highsmith's intimate papers, together with material gleaned from her closest friends and lovers, Andrew Wilson has written the first biography of this veiled figure, an author described by Graham Greene as "the poet of apprehension" and by Gore Vidal as "one of our greatest modernist writers." From Texas, Wilson follows Highsmith's trail to New York, Italy, England, France, Germany, and her final resting place in Tegna, Switzerland. With this remarkable book, he illuminates Highsmith's creative process and reveals the secrets that the writer chose to keep hidden until after her death, finally allowing the full portrait of this compelling, contradictory woman to emerge.
Fresh from finishing university in England, Adam Woods arrives in Venice to begin a new chapter in his life. He soon secures employment as the personal assistant of Gordon Crace - a famous expatriate novelist who makes his home in a dank and crumbling palazzo, surrounded by fabulous works of art, piles of unanswered correspondence and the memories of his former literary glory. Before long Adam becomes indispensable to the feeble Crace, and he finds himself at once drawn to and repelled by his elderly employer's brilliant mind and eccentric habits. As Adam comes to learn more about the scandal that brought Crace to Venice years ago, he realizes he has stumbled upon the raw material that could launch his own literary career and makes a bold decision: He will secretly write the famous author's biography. But outsmarting Crace is easier said than done, and the two soon find themselves locked in a bitter contest over the right to determine how the story of Crace's life will end.
A new biography of Sylvia Plath, a literary icon who continues to haunt, fascinate, and enthrall even now, fifty years after her death On February 25 , 1956, twenty-three-year-old Sylvia Plath walked into a party and immediately spotted Ted Hughes. This encounter--now one of the most famous in all of literary history--was recorded by Plath in her journal, where she described Hughes as a "big, dark, hunky boy." Sylvia viewed Ted as something of a colossus, and to this day his enormous shadow has obscured her life and work. The sensational aspects of the Plath-Hughes relationship have dominated the cultural landscape to such an extent that their story has taken on the resonance of a modern myth. Before she met Ted, Plath had lived a complex, creative, and disturbing life. Her father had died when she was only eight; she had gone out with literally hundreds of men, had been unofficially engaged, had tried to commit suicide, and had written more than two hundred poems. Mad Girl's Love Song chronicles these early years, traces the sources of her mental instability, and examines how a range of personal, economic, and societal factors--the real disquieting muses-- conspired against her. Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers who have never spoken openly about Plath before and using previously unavailable archives and papers, this is the first book to focus on the early life of the twentieth century's most popular and enduring female poet. Mad Girl's Love Song reclaims Sylvia Plath from the tangle of emotions associated with her relationship with Ted Hughes and reveals the origins of her unsettled and unsettling voice.
In 1956, 23-year-old Sylvia Plath walked into a party and immediately spotted Ted Hughes. This encounter--now one of the most famous in all literary history--began what has become a modern myth. Sylvia viewed Ted as something of a colossus, and to this day his enormous shadow has obscured her life and work. Before she met Ted, Plath had lived a complex, creative, and disturbing life. Her father had died when she was only eight; she had gone out with hundreds of men, had been unofficially engaged, had attempted suicide, and had written more than 200 poems. This book chronicles these early years, traces the sources of her mental instability, and examines how a range of personal, economic, and societal factors conspired against her. Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers who have never spoken openly about Plath before, and using previously unavailable archives and papers, this is the first book to focus on the early life of the twentieth century's most popular and enduring female poet.
From an acclaimed biographer, a riveting account of what happened to the survivors of the Titanic--to be published in the lead-up to the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking. April 14, 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. While much has been written about the great ship, her shocking demise, and those who perished, very little has been devoted to the hundreds of survivors. In Shadow of the Titanic, Andrew Wilson offers a moving look at how their lives were affected by living through this catastrophic event. For the first time ever, those who lived to tell the tale reveal how they coped in the aftermath. Using archival research and interviews with family members, Wilson offers a unique take on this fascinating story. He shows how some survivors used their experience to propel themselves on to fame and how others were wracked with guilt and refused to acknowledge they had been there. Some reputations were destroyed, and some survivors were so psychologically damaged that they took their own lives years later. From the famous survivors like Bruce Ismay and Madeline Astor--who became a bride, a widow, and a mother all within a year--to lesser known survivors Dorothy Gibson and the Navartil brothers--who were traveling under assumed names because they were being abducted by their father--Shadow of the Titanic offers a host of astonishing stories that add an important new dimension to our understanding of this legendary disaster.
IN the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, the icy waters of the North Atlantic reverberated with the desperate screams of more than 1,500 men, women, and children--passengers of the once majestic liner Titanic. Then, as the ship sank to the ocean floor and the passengers slowly died from hypothermia, an even more awful silence settled over the sea. The sights and sounds of that night would haunt each of the vessel's 705 survivors for the rest of their days. Although we think we know the story of Titanic--the famously luxurious and supposedly unsinkable ship that struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Britain to America--very little has been written about what happened to the survivors after the tragedy. How did they cope in the aftermath of this horrific event? How did they come to remember that night, a disaster that has been likened to the destruction of a small town? Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished letters, memoirs, and diaries as well as interviews with survivors' family members, award-winning journalist and author Andrew Wilson reveals how some used their experience to propel themselves on to fame, while others were so racked with guilt they spent the rest of their lives under the Titanic's shadow. Some reputations were destroyed, and some survivors were so psychologically damaged that they took their own lives in the years that followed. Andrew Wilson brings to life the colorful voices of many of those who lived to tell the tale, from famous survivors like Madeleine Astor (who became a bride, a widow, an heiress, and a mother all within a year), Lady Duff Gordon, and White Star Line chairman J. Bruce Ismay, to lesser known second- and third-class passengers such as the Navratil brothers--who were traveling under assumed names because they were being abducted by their father. Today, one hundred years after that fateful voyage, Shadow of the Titanic adds an important new dimension to our understanding of this enduringly fascinating story.
The remarkable popular protest in Kiev and across Ukraine following the cooked presidential election of November 2004 has transformed the politics of eastern Europe. Andrew Wilson witnessed the events firsthand and here looks behind the headlines to ascertain what really happened and how it will affect the future of the region.It is a dramatic story: an outgoing president implicated via secret tape-recordings in corruption and murder; a shadowy world of political cheats and manipulators; the massive covert involvement of Putin's Russia; the poisoning of the opposition challenger; and finally the mass protest of half a million Ukrainians that forced a second poll and the victory of Viktor Yushchenko.As well as giving an account of the election and its aftermath, the book examines the broader implications of the Orange Revolution and of Russia's serious miscalculation of its level of influence. It explores the likely chain reaction in Moldova, Belarus, and the nervous autocracies of the Caucasus, and points to a historical transformation of the geopolitics of Eurasia.
Demonstrating the commonality of the world's religions and our common humanity, this rich and varied anthology of scripture offers a highly useful collection of religious quotations, passages, and excerpts from the holy texts, representing a new, holistic approach to the world's religions.
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