An Unfinished Memoir
In her foreword, Anne Tyler calls Reynolds Price “an exclamation point in a landscape of mostly declarative sentences.” When Price died in 2011, he left behind a final manuscript—two hundred candid, heartrending, and marvelously written pages about a critical period in his young adulthood. Approaching thirty, Price writes, is to face the notion that “This is it. I’m now the person I’m likely to be.” Midstream details the final youthful adventures of a man on the cusp of artistic acclaim. Here, Price chases a doomed love to England, only to meet heartbreak. Determined to pursue other pleasures, Price journeys to Rome with poet Stephen Spender, sharing an afternoon with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Price finds company in New York with a group of artists as he awaits the publication of his first novel, and, back in North Carolina, he begins his illustrious career at Duke, which would span a half century. Midstream is a fitting bookend for Price’s remarkable career, and it reinforces his place in the pantheon of American literature.
Read an Excerpt
“What you maybe don’t know is that I always go into a decline at times like this—saying to myself that surely it would be far easier just to sit still and forget the whole thing, but then I think of a fourth consecutive year in Durham and plow on.”
—Reynolds Price, in a letter to Wallace Kaufman, July 8, 1961
AFTER DEBARKING FROM the Queen Mary and clearing customs on the Southampton dock by ten in the morning, I leapt aboard a train for Oxford with my small borrowed trunk and one suitcase. In the three years since I was last in England, British Railways had surely...see more
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