- 13,99 €
A “dazzling and gorgeously written” novel of art, faith, and life-changing friendship inspired by the correspondence of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell (Ann Packer).
In the summer of 1957, two writers are immersed in their craft at an artist’s colony nestled in upstate New York when chance brings them together. Frances, a country northerner, as committed to her solitude as she is her faith, and Bernard, a gregarious Bostonian with a propensity towards mania and grand gestures, find themselves forming a friendship, and then a courtship, as they each discover a kindred spirit beneath the obvious differences between them. But, as they become inexorably entwined in each other’s lives, they struggle with the dependence of their romance and the conflict it causes with their own dreams.
Inspired by the lives of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell, who formed an unlikely connection after meeting at Yaddo in the late fifties, and told in a series of intimate letters between the protagonists, Frances and Bernard is a touching and bittersweet look at what happens when love, desire, hope, faith, and friendship collide.
“Recalling 20th-century masters like Graham Greene and Walker Percy . . . Bauer is herself a distinctive stylist who can write about Simone Weil or Kierkegaard with wit and charm.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Engrossing . . . Funny, sweet and sad. A lovely surprise.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A novel of stunning subtlety, grace, and depth . . . compos[ed in] dueling letters of breathtaking wit, seduction, and heartbreak.” —Booklist, starred review
Frances and Bernard are writers. She's a novelist who studied at Iowa, Catholic, a bit prim, but tart-tongued. He's a poet, descended from Puritans but a convert to Catholicism, prone to fits of mania. They meet in the late 1950s in a writer's colony and become friends. If this sounds like Flannery O'Connor and Robert Lowell, it should: Frances and Bernard are their fictionalized avatars, with Frances the more fictional, since she's neither Southern nor suffering from an incurable disease. Short but satisfying, this epistolary novel covers roughly nine years, as Frances and Bernard grow closer, at first through letters, then visits, always fending off questions from themselves and others about whether they could be more than friends. If Bauer makes things better for O'Connor than they were in actuality, she does it without cheating on her characters, who, whatever their real life inspirations, are fictional and obligated only to work in that form. Bauer's debut novel (after her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl) is well written, engrossing, and succeeds in making Frances and Bernard's shared interest in religion believable and their relationship funny, sweet, and sad. A lovely surprise.