Dark Harbor: Building House and Home on an Enchanted Island

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9781560255284: Dark Harbor: Building House and Home on an Enchanted Island

When Ved Mehta was invited to Islesboro, a thirteen-mile-long island off the coast of Maine, he could not have imagined the far-reaching consequences of his visit. Seduced by the dream of setting roots in the New World, Mehta finds himself buying a fifteen-acre parcel of land in the rugged terrain of Dark Harbor. To build his house, he hires the architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, famous for designing, among other things, the IBM Building in New York. With echoes of Ibsen's Master-builder, Mehta details the folly of a blind man constructing a house on an island far removed from that other island, Manhattan, where he lives. Underlying this narrative is a richly allegorical tale about Mehta's own struggles as a writer and as a man. In the middle of it all, he falls in love with a much younger woman, whom he ultimately marries.

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About the Author:

Ved Mehta was a staff writer on The New Yorker for thirty-three years. He has been a MacArthur Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and has held the Rosencrantz chair in Writing at Yale University. Dark Harbor is an independent book in a continuing literary autobiography, Continents of Exile. The earlier books in the series are All for Love, Remembering Mr. Shawn's New Yorker, Up at Oxford, The Stolen Light, Sound Shadows of the New World, The Ledge Between the Streams, Vedi, Mamaji and Daddyji. His other books include Mahatma Gandhi and His Apostles, Portrait of India, and Fly and The Fly-Bottle.
His website is www.vedmehta.com

From Publishers Weekly:

In the 10th and penultimate installment of his Continents of Exile autobiographical series, Mehta (All for Love; Up at Oxford) deftly turns homebuilding into a metaphor for other struggles. Seeking acceptance, love, a home and a family, he evokes their universal nature alongside the unique challenges of his blindness, which render his achievements particularly poignant. "I was glad that I was in a position to give my wife and children some measure of what a sighted husband and a sighted father might give," he writes near the end of this volume, with his island home built and his daughters happily installed in sailing camp. The story begins, though, with the author as a single urbanite living on a writer's meager income, awed by wealthy friends who vacation on Maine's island of Islesboro. While Mehta, a 30-year New Yorker veteran, bristles when people cater to his blindness, the book shows how his condition makes his project breathtakingly difficult. While he is adept at navigating Manhattan, with its myriad sounds, the forested island, accessible only by boat or plane, defies him from the moment a pilot leaves him alone on the airstrip and he briefly panics. Mehta's conversation with himself at this moment captures his social anxiety and the recklessness with which he overcomes it, themes that run throughout the book. "I shouldn't have let him fly away just for the sake of giving Annette [Mehta's friend] the impression that I was every bit the equal of a seeing person," he tells himself. His candid self-observation and clear, clean prose make for an engaging read. Photos.-- the impression that I was every bit the equal of a seeing person," he tells himself. His candid self-observation and clear, clean prose make for an engaging read. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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