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The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Russo, Richard

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ISBN: 0525435336     ISBN-13: 9780525435334
Publisher: Vintage Books
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Binding Type: Paperback
Published: June 2019

Annotation: "It turns out that Russo the nonfiction writer is a lot like Russo the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. He is affably disagreeable, wry, idiosyncratic, vulnerably bighearted, a craftsman of lubricated sentences."—Jay Fielden, New York Times Book Review

A master of the novel, short story, and memoir, the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Everybody's Fool now gives us his very first collection of personal essays, ranging throughout writing and reading and living.

In these nine essays, Richard Russo provides insight into his life as a writer, teacher, friend, and reader. From a commencement speech he gave at Colby College, to the story of how an oddly placed toilet made him reevaluate the purpose of humor in art and life, to a comprehensive analysis of Mark Twain's value, to his harrowing journey accompanying a dear friend as she pursued gender-reassignment surgery, The Destiny Thief reflects the broad interests and experiences of one of America's most beloved authors. Warm, funny, wise, and poignant, the essays included here traverse Russo's writing life, expanding our understanding of who he is and how his singular, incredibly generous mind works. An utter joy to read, they give deep insight into the creative process from the prospective of one of our greatest writers.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Literary Collections | Essays
- Biography & Autobiography | Personal Memoirs
- Biography & Autobiography | Literary
Dewey: 808
Academic/Grade Level: General Adult
Book type: Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 8.00" H x 5.25" W x 0.75" (0.55 lbs) 225 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 October #5)

In his first essay collection, Russo (Everybody's Fool) rambles leisurely through a broad range of topics with his characteristically amiable voice. In a commencement speech to the 2004 graduating class of Colby College, where he then taught, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist offers "Russo's Rules for a Good Life," such as "search out the kind of work you'd gladly do for free and then get somebody to pay you for it." In the most poignant essay, "Imagining Jenny," Russo powerfully portrays the physical difficulties endured by a friend during gender-reassignment surgery. Elsewhere, in "The Gravestone and the Commode," Russo brilliantly uses the incongruity of an old gravestone sitting next to an apple tree in his backyard, marking no apparent grave, to illustrate life's inherent absurdity, as a consequence of which the writer has "no need to make the world a funny place." In the longest selection, "Getting Good," Russo artfully meanders from his early abortive attempts to become a rock musician to his successful writing career, concluding that any artist hungering for success must "put in the time because genius isn't nearly enough." Russo's colorful book offers his novel's fans more of his dazzling and moving writing, often revealing glimpses of the forces that drive a bestselling fiction writer. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates. (May)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.
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