Synopses & Reviews
The final book—a memoir on which he was working at the time of his death—from Reynolds Price, “one of the most important voices in modern Southern fiction” (The New York Times).
When Reynolds Price died in January 2011, he left behind one final piece of writing—two hundred candid, heartrending, and marvelously written manuscript pages about a critical period in his young adulthood. Picking up where his previous memoir, Ardent Spirits, left off, the work documents a brief time from 1961 to 1965. Midstream, which begins when Price is twenty-eight, details the final youthful adventures of a man on the cusp of artistic acclaim. Here, Price chases a love to England, only to meet heartbreak. Determined to pursue other pleasures, he travels to Sweden for a friend’s wedding, then journeys to Rome with British poet Stephen Spender and spends an afternoon with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Price returns to the United States, where he finds company with a group of artists as he awaits the 1962 publication of his first novel, A Long and Happy Life.
“Few writers have made as dramatic an entrance on the American literary stage,” declared The New York Times on the book’s success. Midstream offers a poignant portrait of a man at the threshold of true adulthood, navigating new responsibilities and pleasures alike. It is a fitting bookend for Price’s remarkable career, and it reinforces his place in the pantheon of American literature.
In her foreword, Anne Tyler calls Reynolds Price “an exclamation point in a landscape of mostly declarative sentences.” When Price died in 2011, he left behind a final manuscript—two hundred candid, heartrending, and marvelously written pages about a critical period in his young adulthood. Approaching thirty, Price writes, is to face the notion that “This is it. I’m now the person I’m likely to be.” Midstream details the final youthful adventures of a man on the cusp of artistic acclaim. Here, Price chases a doomed love to England, only to meet heartbreak. Determined to pursue other pleasures, Price journeys to Rome with poet Stephen Spender, sharing an afternoon with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Price finds company in New York with a group of artists as he awaits the publication of his first novel, and, back in North Carolina, he begins his illustrious career at Duke, which would span a half century. Midstream is a fitting bookend for Price’s remarkable career, and it reinforces his place in the pantheon of American literature.
About the Author
Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.