The author of Armadillo, The Blue Afternoon and Brazzaville Beachthe novelist who has been called a "master storyteller" (Chicago Tribune) and "a gutsy writer who is good company to keep" (Time)now gives us his most entertaining, sly and compelling novel to date, a novel that evokes the tumult, events and iconic faces of our time, as it tells the story of Logan Mountstuartwriter, lover and man of the worldthrough his intimate journals.
Here is the "riotous and disorganized reality" of Mountstuart's eighty-five years in all their extraordinary, tragic and humorous aspects. The journals begin with his boyhood in Montevideo, Uruguay; then move to Oxford in the 1920s and the publication of his first book; then on to Paris (where he meets Joyce, Picasso, Hemingway, et al.) and to Spain where he covers the civil war. During World War II, we see him as an agent for Naval Intelligence, becoming embroiled in a murder scandal that involves the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The postwar years bring him to New York as an art dealer in the world of 1950s abstract expressionism, then on to West Africa, to London (where he has a run-in with the Baader-Meinhof Gang) and, finally, to France where, in his old age, he acquires a measure of hard-won serenity.
A moving, ambitious and richly conceived novel that summons up the heroics and follies of twentieth-century life.
BookBrowse Note: Footnotes have been inserted in appropriate places. In the actual text, they appear at the bottom of the page, as usual.
PREAMBLE TO THESE JOURNALS
"Yo, Logan," I wrote. "Yo, Logan Mountstuart, vivo en la Villa Flores, Avenida de Brasil, Montevideo, Uruguay, America del Sur, El Mundo, El Sistema Solar, El Universo." These were the first words I wrote--or to be more precise, this is the earliest record of my writing and the beginning of my writing life--words that were inscribed on the flyleaf of an indigo pocket diary for the year 1912 (which I still possess and whose pages are otherwise void). I was six years old. It intrigues me now* to reflect that my first written words were in a language not my own. My lost fluency in Spanish is probably my greatest regret about my otherwise perfectly happy childhood. The serviceable, error-dotted, grammatically unsophisticated Spanish that I speak today is the poorest of poor cousins to that instinctive colloquial jabber ...
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