David Plante American Ghosts: A Memoir

ISBN 13: 9780807072646

American Ghosts: A Memoir

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9780807072646: American Ghosts: A Memoir
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From a critically acclaimed novelist comes a masterful memoir in the tradition of Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story

David Plante was born and brought up in a French-speaking Catholic parish in Providence, Rhode Island, that was like an isolated fortress in Yankee New England. The nuns of the parish school wore long black veils and taught the children that they lived in le petit Canada, where they preserved the beliefs of le grand Canada, a country of suffering eased by miracles. This invisible country with its history of long lost French North America, of the Jesuit missionaries devoted to converting the Indians, of the hard lives of fur traders and woodsmen and the Indian squaws who became their wives was made more present to him than the visible country he lived in. His part-Blackfoot father was stoic and silent, his mother lively and garrulous but trapped, and at the center of their difficult lives was a deep, dark God.

The ghosts of the parish haunted David Plante long after he left home, lost his belief in any god, and found the center of his life both in love and in writing. However free of his past he became in his maturity, his constant fear remained that the God he was brought up with would appear to him and possess him. Finally, Plante came to terms with this possessive God by coming to terms with his ancestry a stunning spiritual and physical journey that brings him back to Providence, to Canada, to France, and finally to a new understanding of God.

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About the Author:

David Plante teaches writing at Columbia University.

Review:

"This is a totally original book. I've never read anything like it. Though it starts out sounding like a personal memoir and a search for roots, it soon transcends the genre and becomes something like a spiritual Moby-Dick, an ex-Catholic's obsessive pursuit of a God who may or may not exist but who has caused him undeniable harm. It is a book about contradictions that can tear a human being apart-a desire for unity but a belief in diversity, a gift for subjectivity but a painful commitment to the objective, a simultaneous love for and shame about his humble origins. If you want to read something honest and deep and beautiful, this is the book for you." -Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story "In the pages of American Ghosts, David Plante brings the dead back to life-the inhabitants of a world he knew intimately as a child but which has since disappeared. In the tradition of the great confessional writers, this memoir moves effortlessly between vivid storytelling and philosophical meditation. Lyrical, tender, intelligent, deeply human and terribly honest, American Ghosts is an account of one man's life, which has the power to illuminate every life." -Siri Hustvedt, author of What I Loved "American Ghosts takes as a kind of mantra the importance of living in the here and now, a principle that most contemporary American readers would associate with Buddhism but that, as Plante knows and demonstrates, lies at the heart of what it means to be genuinely religious. In all his work Plante's great strength has been his ability to enable us to perceive beauty in the most common moments-he has the capacity to be at once quiet and vivid, crystalline and penetrating. American Ghosts is a fitting addition to a lifetime of extraordinary work." -Fenton Johnson, author of Keeping Faith: A Skeptic's Journey Among Christian and Buddhists Monks and Geography of the Heart. "Not so much a memoir as a beautiful diary of the making of a writer, Plante's evocative work hauntingly resurrects the ghosts residing in his life." -Publishers Weekly

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Plante, David
Published by Beacon Pr, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. (2004)
ISBN 10: 0807072648 ISBN 13: 9780807072646
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