Time out of Mind: The Diaries of Leonard Michaels, 1961-1995

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9781573221429: Time out of Mind: The Diaries of Leonard Michaels, 1961-1995

Leonard Michaels tells us that he began keeping a journal because he had no one to talk to about his troubled early marriage, which ended in his wife's suicide. In more than thirty years of entries, he has found many things easier to confide to paper than to friends and family. As a culture, we are obsessed with the private lives of others. Yet Time Out of Mind is more than an individual's journals. While charting Michaels's progress over three decades, we gain an understanding of what it means to be a writer. Time Out of Mind, which has been excerpted in The New Yorker, is the carefully crafted yet emotionally raw musings of a tormented, sensitive, and deeply insightful man who has difficulty reconciling himself to the world. Often hilarious, always riveting, and with surprising dramatic intensity, it describes Michaels as friend, lover, husband, and father, and captures the character of the times, beginning in the early sixties, when he was a young writer living in Greenwich Village.

Michaels has been hailed a master of observation, and through his eyes we see the ordinary world alive with new meaning.

A rare invitation into the journals of a writer."Leonard Michaels is a great magician of prose." --April Bernard, New York Newsday

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About the Author:

Leonard Michaels is the author of two short story collections, Going Places, which was nominated for a National Book Award, and I Would Have Saved Them If I Could, named one of the six outstanding works of fiction of the year by The New York Times. His bestselling novel, The Men's Club, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award and made into a movie. He was a professor for two decades at U.C. Berkeley.

From Publishers Weekly:

Widely praised as a novelist (The Men's Club) and writer of short fiction (I Would Have Saved Them If I Could), Michaels, in his private journals, undertakes a relentlessly candid exploration of the labyrinth of self. The central theme of his fictionAsociety's blindness to itselfAresonates through these excerpts. His first wife, Sylvia, committed suicide at age 24 in 1963, a tragedy that, judging from this confessional, left him emotionally numb for years. In minimalist, deadpan prose, he re-creates their Greenwich Village milieu, conjuring a circle of off-kilter urban characters who seem as self-absorbed and neurotic as any Seinfeld coterie. Michaels drifted through two more marriages, both ending in divorce, fathered three children, crisscrossed the country, taught English in upstate New York and at UC-Berkeley and shifted between periods of gregariousness and solitude. He often comments astutely on the inability to express love and on the compromises couples make. Above all, Michaels captures the loneliness and exhilaration of being a writer, which for him means going against the grain, resisting the reigning illusions sustained by advertising, news, politics and the zeitgeist. A seismic register of daily thoughts and observations, this journal sometimes descends into the mundane, but every so often quietly rises to magnificence: "Courage is continuing to perform your daily tasks, and being hopeful despite the odds, not inflicting your fears on others, and remaining sensitive to their needs and expectations, and also not supposing, because you're dying, nothing matters any longer." First serial to the New Yorker. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Michaels, Leonard
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