Synopses & Reviews
A fascinating and exquisitely written novel about the art and life of Robert Frost.
In his most recent novel, I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, Brian Hall won acclaim for the way he used the intimate, revelatory voice of fiction to capture the half-hidden personal stories of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In his new novel Hall turns to the life of Robert Frost, arguably Americaas most well-known poet. Frost, as both man and artist, was toughened by a hard life. His own father died when Frost was eleven; his only sibling, a sister, had to be institutionalized; of his five children, one died before the age of four, one committed suicide, one went insane, and one died in childbirth.
Told in short chapters, each of which presents an emblematic incident with intensity and immediacy, Hall's novel deftly weaves together the earlier parts of Frost's life with his final year, 1962, when, at age eighty-eight, and under the looming threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he made a visit to Russia and met with Khrushchev.
As Hall shows, Frost determined early on that he would not succumb to the tragedies life threw at him. The deaths of his children were forms of his own death from which he resurrected himself through poetry for him, the preeminent symbol of man's form giving power.
A searing, exquisitely constructed portrait of one man's rages, guilt, paranoia, and sheer, defiant persistence, as well as an exploration of why good people suffer unjustly and how art is born from that unanswerable question, Fall of Frost is a magnificent work that further confirms Hall's status as one of the most talented novelists at work today.
"This defiantly nonlinear fictionalization of the life of poet Robert Frost (1874 1963) alternates between Frost's late-life visit to Communist Russia, where he met with Khrushchev, and dozens of vignettes and scenes from the rest of his long life, as well as his work's posthumous reception. Hall (I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company) takes readers from Frost's troubled childhood in San Francisco to his creative flowering in Great Britain at the onset of WWI, to the fraught relationship between Frost-as-widower and his married secretary. The narrative returns again and again to the cold winters in New England farm country that permeated his poetry and his 20s and 30s, but the book's real weight comes from the tragedy of Frost's children's deaths: four of six preceded their father. The deep sorrow and disappointment embedded in Frost's story come through particularly in the included fragments of verse. None of what's here enlarges on the extraordinary amount of biographical material on Frost, but Hall gets deep into Frost's head, an approach that brings a startling immediacy to a complex figure many know only as the author of classics like 'The Road Not Taken.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Hall's stream of Frost's consciousness is deep with detail and treacherous with waterfalls of sudden chronological leaps, but slowly the poet's long and eventful life emerges as a continuous whole." Seattle Times
"[F]or readers desiring a richly poetic treatment of Frost in all his splendid contrariety...this is a book to savor." Christian Science Monitor
"A rich, contemplative and rewarding exercise in the biographical novel." Kirkus Reviews
The life of Robert Frost, brilliantly re-imagined by the author of the acclaimed I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company
Called "a spellbinding prose stylist"(Los Angeles Times), Brian Hall drew extraordinary praise for his novel I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, in which he captured the personal lives of Lewis and Clark. Now he turns his talents to Robert Frost, arguably America's most famous poet. Through the revelatory voice of fiction, Hall gives us an artist toughened by tragedy, whose intimacy with death gave life to his poetry-for him, the preeminent symbol of man's form-giving power. This is the exquisitely rendered portrait of one man's rages, guilt, generosity, and defiant persistence-as much a fictional masterwork as it is a meditation on greatness.
About the Author
Brian Hall is the author of three previous novels, including the acclaimed story of the Lewis and Clark expedition, I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, as well as three books of nonfiction. His journalism has appeared in Time, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Magazine