Acclaimed short-story writer and winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award, Robert Anderson has written a brilliantly inventive first novel–a book that blends the facts of a famous writer’s life with the profound effect of her death on an entire generation.
Sylvia Plath’s legacy inspires, harrows, and haunts the three people at the center of Little Fugue : her husband, the poet Ted Hughes, freed by her death and then imprisoned by her myth; Assia Gutmann Wevill, Plath’s rival and Hughes’s mistress, who kills herself only six years after Plath; and Robert Anderson, a young New York writer, who is obsessed with Plath’s poems and her suicide, which “forged my identity and, incidentally, ruined my life.”
Their lives intersect, transiently and directly, through some of the more dramatic social upheavals of the past decades: the ’68 student riots, the drug-addled seventies, the AIDS crisis of the eighties, the cataclysm of 9/11.
Little Fugue crackles with wit and verbal dexterity. There have been many accounts of the Plath/Hughes drama, but author Robert Anderson provides a fresh, utterly convincing interpretation of events. This is a brilliant novel of artists caught between the erotic allure of extinction and the eternal power of poetry.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Little Fugue|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Chapter OneThe Bridal Path
London, February 1963. New York All Along.
A flatbed barge is roaring down Broadway with an American flag furling. The semi is on an empty run, returning from one of the fills upstate. I'm standing on the roof of Dodge Hall, Columbia University. I'm covered with bone dust. Candles are left to burn on the blacktop. They weep in sleepers' windows. The night's fires burn low as the city lies in bed, still awake. There's some Columbia kids on the street in tattered, laundry day clothing and rearward baseball caps. They are mocking the Spirit of '76 battle corps. One of them has a pennywhistle; another, a marching drum. The last one conducts the wind. They pass, single file, beneath the bell tower of the Broadway Presbyterian Church. They fade out of view. The kids have captured the essence of music. Soloing musicians always elude the range of the senses. They dare the faculty of memory to define them. Poets are even more surreptitious. They are forever soloing. Harmony, for them, is a matter of isolation. Revelation is a rootless tongue, a sourceless river. Before the race even begins, the starting blocks have disappeared. The lost runner is mortally wounded by the maddening echo of a gun unfired. Rarely do poets meet the viewer's eyes in photographs. But she does.
The aqua cubes flicker, rectangles within rectangles. Tonight, the news of the world will conjugate with my accustomed scrutiny of the cosmos. Dan, Tom, and Peter. Our boys of doom in their winter. Our nighthawks of the woeful countenance. They, or one of their dredged-up experts, will have an answer to every qu...