Brad Leithauser The Art Student's War

ISBN 13: 9780307456205

The Art Student's War

3.25 avg rating
( 325 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780307456205: The Art Student's War
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

The Art Student's War is Brad Leithauser's finest novel to date, deeply moving in its portrayal of a young aspiring artist and her immigrant family during Detroit’s wartime heyday.

The year is 1943. Bianca Paradiso is a pretty and ambitious eighteen-year-old studying to be an artist while her bustling, thriving hometown turns from mass-producing automobiles to rolling out fighter planes and tanks. For Bianca, national and personal conflicts begin to merge when she is asked to draw portraits of the wounded young soldiers who are filling local hospitals. Suddenly she must confront lives maimed at their outset as well as her own romantic yearnings, and she must do so at a time when another war—a war within her own family—is erupting.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

A Q&A with Brad Leithauser

Question: You've truly written a love letter to Detroit. You mention in your Author's Note that you felt "a strong sense that [The Art Student's War] must serve as a tribute... to Detroit itself, my beleaguered and beloved hometown, in all its clanking, gorgeous heyday." Why did you write this book and how did it come about?

Brad Leithauser: When friends would ask about the book I was writing, I'd tell them that it was an attempt to convince myself that the world pre-existed me. This was my joking way of expressing a serious ambition: to write about a city that had, in many ways, vanished by the time I came along. I was born in Detroit in the fifties, and my book opens in Detroit in 1943. This is really my parents' world, which I knew chiefly through family lore, old photographs, and--as I became deeply enmeshed in my novel--a day-to-day reading of The Detroit News on microfilm for the years 1941-1943. I've lived for long stretches in a number of wonderful places--including Paris and Reykjavik and Kyoto--but Detroit is the city that has the most powerful hold on my imagination. As to how the book came about... My beloved mother-in-law drew soldiers' portraits during the Second World War. She was a teenage art student at the time, and these were often wounded soldiers. I never thought to ask her about this before she tragically died in 1983. But many years after she was gone, it occurred to me that here was a wonderful premise for a novel: an attractive and very young art student who draws wounded soldiers, and as she's trying to capture their injured spirits on paper, they are, naturally, falling head-over-heels for her.

Question: In October 2009, Time Magazine ran the cover story, "The Tragedy of Detroit: How a great city fell--and how it can rise again." Have you visited Detroit recently? Are you optimistic for the city’s future?

Brad Leithauser: I visit Detroit all the time. If the car companies all collapse, I plan to buy the last one off the assembly line. If bulldozers rubble the last office building, I'll be there with my notebook, taking notes and trying to make sense of it all. I'm a loyal son.

Question: At one point you say of your heroine Bea Paradiso, "She felt the War--it was the largest thing she'd ever felt. She felt it, that is, with a sweep and a complexity burgeoning steadily over time." How did people react differently to World War II versus the many wars we are currently involved in?

Brad Leithauser: Of course America is now in the middle of wars that have lasted much longer than the Second World War. And I'm struck by how peripheral they often seem. Afghanistan? Iraq? There are days when they hardly seem to make the newspaper, the evening TV news. I sought to capture something else entirely: a global conflict that infiltrated everything you did--what you wore and ate and watched and talked about.

Question: What sort of research went in to The Art Student's War?

Brad Leithauser: Most helpful of all for me were the newspapers. I spent day after bleary-eyed day reading microfilm at the Detroit Public Library. And there was something deeply heartening for me in stumbling out of the library to view the streets and buildings and parks I'd been reading about. I also spent a tiny fortune on 40s memorabilia. I was especially pleased when I came upon a very large "Official Map of Detroit's Transportation System" from the war years. I hung it on my office wall for years. In my mind, I was able to move from bus to streetcar and back again; I could freely navigate the city.

Question: Your previous novels have featured male protagonists. Did you have any difficulty creating your female main character, Bea Paradiso? What sort of differences did you find in your writing process?

Brad Leithauser: I'd like to think the book might plausibly be subtitled: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman. I saw this as a twofold challenge. First, I wanted to invent a female character believable enough that she could center a large novel. Then I wanted to give her a budding but authentic gift; I hoped readers would feel they were encountering someone of genuine talent, who happened to be born into a time and place not always hospitable to young women of talent. I suppose my mother-in-law (were she still alive), my mother, my wife, and my two daughters might each recognize some facet of themselves in my Bea Paradiso; I've borrowed freely from those I love. And perhaps that's why I suppose I feel fonder of Bea than of any other character I've created.

Question: You are a poet and a novelist. How do these two writing styles overlap and interact for you?

Brad Leithauser: By doing both, I feel I can manage--at least potentially--to lose less of life's "good stuff" than I would if I worked only in one medium. I'll come upon something that moves me very deeply, and I have two shots--poetry and prose--of getting it down in some satisfying way on paper.

Question: What are you working on now?

Brad Leithauser: Having spent so many years with my imagination fixed within a few square miles of Detroit in the forties, I'm now taking pleasure in much further forays. I've just begun working on a novel that--if all goes as planned--will open in Rome and end in Greenland.

(Photo © Erinn Hartman)

About the Author:

Brad Leithauser was born in Detroit and graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He is the author of five previous novels, a novel in verse, five volumes of poetry, two collections of light verse, and a book of essays. Among his many awards and honors are a MacArthur Fellowship and, in 2005, the induction by the president of Iceland into the Order of the Falcon for his writings about Nordic literature. He is a professor in the writing seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Mary Jo Salter, divide their time between Baltimore, Maryland, and Amherst, Massachusetts.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780307271112: The Art Student's War

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0307271110 ISBN 13:  9780307271112
Publisher: Knopf, 2009
Hardcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Leithauser, Brad
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2010. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # VR-9780307456205

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 8.92
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Leithauser, Brad
Published by Vintage Books (2010)
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Books, 2010. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 495 pages. 8.25x5.00x1.25 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # zk030745620X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 3.42
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.95
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

LEITHAUSER, BRAD
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Random House. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 030745620X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.85
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.60
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Leithauser, Brad
Published by Vintage
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 030745620X *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Seller Inventory # SWATI2132144522

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.71
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Brad Leithauser
Published by VINTAGE (2010)
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description VINTAGE, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Art Student s War is Brad Leithauser s finest novel to date, deeply moving in its portrayal of a young aspiring artist and her immigrant family during Detroit s wartime heyday. The year is 1943. Bianca Paradiso is a pretty and ambitious eighteen-year-old studying to be an artist while her bustling, thriving hometown turns from mass-producing automobiles to rolling out fighter planes and tanks. For Bianca, national and personal conflicts begin to merge when she is asked to draw portraits of the wounded young soldiers who are filling local hospitals. Suddenly she must confront lives maimed at their outset as well as her own romantic yearnings, and she must do so at a time when another war--a war within her own family--is erupting. Seller Inventory # BZV9780307456205

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Brad Leithauser
Published by VINTAGE (2010)
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description VINTAGE, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The Art Student s War is Brad Leithauser s finest novel to date, deeply moving in its portrayal of a young aspiring artist and her immigrant family during Detroit s wartime heyday. The year is 1943. Bianca Paradiso is a pretty and ambitious eighteen-year-old studying to be an artist while her bustling, thriving hometown turns from mass-producing automobiles to rolling out fighter planes and tanks. For Bianca, national and personal conflicts begin to merge when she is asked to draw portraits of the wounded young soldiers who are filling local hospitals. Suddenly she must confront lives maimed at their outset as well as her own romantic yearnings, and she must do so at a time when another war--a war within her own family--is erupting. Seller Inventory # BTE9780307456205

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Brad Leithauser
Published by Vintage (2010)
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX030745620X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 13.67
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Brad Leithauser
Published by Vintage (2010)
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2010. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M030745620X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 21.64
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Leithauser, Brad
Published by Vintage (2010)
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P11030745620X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 40.55
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Leithauser, Brad
Published by Vintage
ISBN 10: 030745620X ISBN 13: 9780307456205
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Cloud 9 Books
(Wellington, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 030745620X New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.1811916

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 59.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book