Starting Out in the Evening

Starting Out in the Evening

eBook - 2007
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PRAISE FOR STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING "Wonderful . . . This is what a novel is supposed to be." --Newsday "Morton's perceptions of the conflicts within the human heart are keen." --Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
Leonard Schiller is a novelist in his seventies, a second-string but respectable talent who produced only a small handful of books. Heather Wolfe is an attractive graduate student in her twenties. She read Schiller's novels when she was growing up and they changed her life. When the ambitious Heather decides to write her master's thesis about Schiller's work and sets out to meet him--convinced she can bring Schiller back into the literary world's spotlight--the unexpected consequences of their meeting alter everything in Schiller's ordered life. What follows is a quasi-romantic friendship and intellectual engagement that investigates the meaning of art, fame, and personal connection. "Nothing less than a triumph" (The New York Times Book Review), Starting Out in the Evening is Brian Morton's most widely acclaimed novel to date.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007
ISBN: 9780547451596
0547451598
Characteristics: data file
1 online resource (336 pages)
Call Number: eBook

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manoush Nov 10, 2014

I read this after reading Morton's recent "Florence Gordon" and find this earlier novel to be the more poignant and well-executed. Both novels take as their protagonist an aging intellectual, and trace the relationship between the weathered writer and an eager young acolyte. But "Starting Out in the Evening" is a much more moving, substantive, heartfelt portrayal. The protagonist Leonard Schiller is a highly principled man who's completely out of step with the times, moving to the tune of his own drummer, as the proverb has it. His sole loyalty is to the craft of his writing, whether or not the writing sells or attains wider societal recognition, and whether or not his devotion to his craft comes at the expense of his responsibility to his daughter. Leonard's physique, mannerisms, passions, and memories are rendered much more vividly and skillfully than Florence Gordon, who by comparison is merely a cultural stereotype of the old feminist who doesn't care what people think and treats even her granddaughter in a brusque, arm's length manner. Morton's writing in "Starting Out in the Evening" is more inspired, ruminative, and even poetic. His portrayal of the peripheral characters in this earlier novel is also far more well-done than in Florence Gordon. It's clear that Morton has lots of sympathy with and respect and affection for his artistic hero Schiller, whereas his skeletal depiction of Florence Gordon is more detached and uninspired.

WVMLStaffPicks Oct 27, 2014

This novel resonates with intelligence, compassion, and humour. Leonard Schiller, a novelist in his early seventies, has a brief rekindling of his dying hopes for literary fame -- a young Master's student wants to write her thesis on his work. In doing so, she also hopes to spark her own literary career. Their relationship, and those with his daughter and his old friends, are tenderly drawn by Morton's graceful pen.

m
Minnetonka_Library
Jan 18, 2010

My favorite of the works of fiction I read in 2007.

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