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Remembering Dennyby Calvin Trillin
Synopses & Reviews
Everybody idolized Denny Hansen. He was a varsity swimmer and a Rhodes Scholar whose "million-dollar smile" and bright future made him the subject of a feature in Life magazine. A clean-cut college hero filled with limitless promise, Denny symbolized everything thought of as good in 1950s America. But life worked out differently for Denny. By middle age he was alone and unfulfilled: he committed suicide at fifty-five.
In Remembering Denny, essayist and poet Calvin Trillin investigates the death of a Yale classmate. In so doing, he also reflects upon the American fifties, offering a provocative look at the way we were — rather than the way we thought we were — and its consequences.
"Trillin is recording a time, a place, and an illusion...which Trillin punctures gracefully and not without tenderness." New York Newsday
"[A] memoir on an uncharacteristically somber subject....What makes this gloomy post-mortem bearable and even fascinating is a smattering of Trillin's one-liners, as well as shrewd observations....[A] fine meditation on one life's aborted promise, the crippling burden of anticipated success, and the mysteries of the human heart." Kirkus Reviews
"Whether or not Roger Hansen was a hero for his time, Remembering Denny is a book for today. The book is not so much about Hansen's life and death as about the feelings of Trillin and other friends about his life and death, and about their feelings about their feelings." The New Republic
"Eloquent, heartfelt...an investigation worthy of Mr. Trillin's intelligence and acuity....[T]he pages just almost turn themselves." Michael Dorris, The New York Times Book Review
"[Trillin] provides a superb portrait of an individual, a group and a vanished sensibility....As the author acknowledges, almost all of Denny's generation have found themselves bent with expectations that will never be realized. Unpacking, Trillin provides a class act in every sense of the word." Time
"With a sharp and tolerant eye, a lot of old-fashioned reporting and a controlled, clear, amiable style, [Trillin] opens up characters and digs into actions, telling a good tale along the way. Although he applies his skills in [this book], the subject is not quite there. Denny is much described and analyzed but only dimly captured, and the passages on the 1950s, that much chewed-over decade, don't have much juice." Walter Goodman, The New Leader
"[I]n [Trillin's] search, we necessarily see so much more of the troubled later years than of the golden years that we ultimately lose sight of the magnitude of the change in Hansen." Library Journal
"[A]n elegiac, disturbing, and altogether brilliant memoir....A work to be talked about and treasured." Boston Globe
In this New York Times bestseller, Calvin Trillin examines the life of Denny Hansen, the emblematic college hero of 1957 America. From Hansen's Yale graduation and turn as a Rhodes Scholar to his eventual suicide as a middle aged, mid-level academic, Trillin charts the mysterious course of a life that had at one time seemed full of limitless promise.
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