Synopses & Reviews
Here are three novellas of escape and exile, touching and funny and at times calculatedly outrageous. In "Saturn Street," a disaffected L.A. screenwriter delivers lunches to homebound AIDS patients, only to find himself falling in love with one of them. In "The Wooden Anniversary," Nathan and Celia - familiar characters from Leavitt's story collections - reunite after a five-year separation. And in "The Term-Paper Artist," a writer named David Leavitt, hiding out at his father's house in the aftermath of a publishing scandal, experiences literary rejuvenation when he agrees to write term papers for UCLA undergraduates in exchange for sex.
"Esquire pulled the first of three novellas collected here from its April 1977 issue suddenly and without explanation. That controversial piece by itself reflects the remarkable talent of a plainly first-rate writer. The premise for the story is non-fictional: a gifted and accomplished young writer named David Leavitt, fresh from
the humiliation of plagiarism charges levelled against his recent work While England Sleeps,visits his father in Los Angeles and begins to write term papers for attractive male undergraduates at UCLA in exchange for sex. The storyline invites richly insightful observations on aging, youth, modernity, authorship, creativity, and artistic inspiration. As always, Leavitt is scrupulously attentive to the enormity and the complexity of sexual drives.'The Wooden Anniversary' and 'Saturn Street' are also to be praised. The pleasure of reading his work renews itself again and again." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"Sly, self-knowing, and hilarous."
"Spectacularly effective fiction."
"Classic Leavitt - writing with subtlety, maturity and compassion about the complexity and fragility of human relationships." The Los Angeles Times
"Sly, self-knowing, and hilarous." The New York Times
"Spectacularly effective fiction." Time Magazine
Three novellas of escape and exile, touching and funny and at times calculatedly outrageous, by David Leavitt, "writing with subtlety, maturity and compassion about the complexity and fragility of human relationships" ("Los Angeles Times Book Review").
About the Author
David Leavitt's first collection of stories, Family Dancing, was published when he was just twenty-three and was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Prize. The Lost Language of Cranes was made into a BBC film, and While England Sleeps was short-listed for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize. With Mark Mitchell, he coedited The Penguin Book of Short Stories, Pages Passed from Hand to Hand, and cowrote Italian Pleasures. Leavitt is a recipient of fellowships from both the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He divides his time between Italy and Florida.