Literary Alchemist: The Writing Life of Evan S. Connell by Steve Paul
Evan S. Connell (1924–2013) emerged from the American Midwest determined to become a writer. He eventually made his mark with attention-getting fiction and deep explorations into history. His linked novels Mrs. Bridge (1959) and Mr. Bridge (1969) paint a devastating portrait of the lives of a prosperous suburban family not unlike his own that, more than a half century later, continue to haunt readers with their minimalist elegance and muted satire. As an essayist and historian, Connell produced a wide range of work, including a sumptuous body of travel writing, a bestselling epic account of Custer at the Little Bighorn, and a singular series of meditations on history and the human tragedy.
This first portrait and appraisal of an under-recognized American writer is based on personal accounts by friends, relatives, writers, and others who knew him; extensive correspondence in library archives; and insightful literary and cultural analysis of Connell’s work and its context. It also illuminates aspects of American publishing, Hollywood, male anxieties, and the power of place.
About the Author
Steve Paul worked for the Kansas City Star for 40 years, as a reporter, writer, and editor. He is the author of two books, including Hemingway at Eighteen: The Pivotal Year That Launched an American Legend. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.
Published by University of Missouri, 2021. Hardback, 412 pages.