Nebraska Center for Writers

Chimney Rock What the Critics Say
About Wright Morris

ABOUT FICTION
CAUSE FOR WONDER
CEREMONY AT LONE TREE
CLOAK OF LIGHT
COLLECTED STORIES: 1948-1986
THE DEEP SLEEP
THE FIELD OF VISION
FIRE SERMON
THE HOME PLACE
THE HUGE SEASON
IN ORBIT
A LIFE
LOVE AMONG THE CANNIBALS
MAN AND BOY
THE MAN WHO WAS THERE
MY UNCLE DUDLEY
ONE DAY
PLAINS SONG: FOR FEMALE VOICES
SOLO: AN AMERICAN DREAMER IN EUROPE
THE TERRITORY AHEAD
TIME PIECES: PHOTOGRAPHS, WRITING, AND MEMORY<>
WAR GAMES
WHAT A WAY TO GO
WILL'S BOY
THE WORKS OF LOVE
THE WORLD IN THE ATTIC
WRITING MY LIFE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY



About Fiction
Copyright © 1974
by Wright Morris
HarperCollins

It's a very pithy book. The mind behind it is so mature, playful and civilized (in the best sense); and the control of the language is so sure and artful that, among other things, it is simply a pleasure to read and think about what Morris has written. He is a living exemplar of the vitality of native American fiction. — William Rueckert, The New Republic

About Fiction should be read not only for its searching-out of the problematical but for its pithy apprecaiations of the achieved. As a responder to writing, Mr Morris is bracingly virile — he grips each book like a man shaking hands with another — and aphoristic. — John Updike, The New Yorker


Cause For Wonder
Copyright © 1978
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

When Warren Howe, middle-aged TV script writer, receives an invitation to the funeral of Monsieur Dulac, he attempts to round up all the people who were guests with him three decades ago in Riva. Dulac's castle in the Austrian Alps. Neither Uncle Fremont, who 'invented the dust bowl' nor an old college friend cares to re-experience the good old days. But Sol Spiegel, a junk collector who salvages the past, is eager to return. To escape a world firmly anchored in space and bound to clock time, to re-experience the unbelievable, they go back to Riva — an imaginative creation fixed in neither time nor space, but like its master, both in and out of the world. — Saturday Review of Literature

Wright Morris has an uncommon facility for constantly shifting from past to present without confusion or annoyance to the reader. In Cause for Wonder the time shifts are faster than in The Field of Vision — and all to good purpose. They make of this novel a ghost story that needs no bed sheets and white-paint props, though a few are used. — Newsweek


Ceremony at Lone Tree
Copyright © 2001
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

Although Tom Scanlon would just as soon spend it alone, his ninetieth birthday becomes the occasion for a family gathering in the Midwestern town of Lone Tree. The unlikely celebrants take this opportunity to reconceive their visions of past, future, and family in their own grotesque and ultimately liberating ways. Ceremony in Lone Tree is a spare and beautiful work by one of America's great postwar authors. — from the jacket

A modern classic. ... Not the least of this remarkable novel is the capturing of that special Midwestern attitude when passion erupts into horrendous crime in the "normal" course of life. — Publishers Weekly

There can be no doubt, I think, that Wright Morris is one of our best novelists. ... There is a central event in Ceremony in Lone Tree toward which all the action and digression alike move with great force. ... Most important of all, the elements of symbolic theme which appear throughout the story are all employed with brilliance and economy to pull together various scattered events into a dense moment in the history of a few people, of Nebraska, and of the Western World. — Yale Review

Unlike many of his fellows, prodigious infants whose first words are so phenomenal they are unable to learn new ones, Morris's twelfth novel, Ceremony in Lone Tree, is by and large his best, incomparably better than his first. Without pandering to popular taste, without mimicking himself, Morris has contiunally improved, defining and intensifying his vision. ... — Jonathan Baumbach, The Landscape in Nightmare


A Cloak of Light
Copyright © 1985
by Wright Morris
HarperCollins
How to Buy

Wright Morris was on his way, becoming one of the most persistent, tenacious, crafty and craftsmanlike of contemporary American writers. A writer's writer in a nation where every other citizen is properly convinced that he is the hero of his own drama, where would-be novelists outnumber — 220 to 1 — the actual readers of novels. In this droll, delightful and richly quotable book Mr Morris recounts his own pilgrimage along the open yellow road of American optimism. Rather than describe in detail his career as a writer he concentrates on the essential self-shaping of his life, with quotations from his many novels and essays serving as commentary on the personal history. Through writing he strives to make sense of his own life and of American lives in general, and to save and recapture what might otherwise be forgotten. — Edward Abbey, New York Times

[I]t is the clear way [Morris] observes the interplay between the events of his long life and the art that produced the books and stories that makes these memoirs such an impressive achievement. — James Idema, Chicago Tribune

Collected Stories: 1948-1986
Copyright © 1986
by Wright Morris
HarperCollins
How to Buy

From one of America's most admired, honored and productive writers, twenty-five stories of outstanding power and resonance, in which the real gains and losses of American life are set forth with elegance and love. — from the jacket

The very interior and domestic mid-American stories of this book are strongly, casually expressed, and quite unforgettable. ... They are the work of a writer like none other we've had — original, cool, decent and with a decidedly lingering effect. — Tom McGuane, USA Today

Here is the maestro, a national treasure, a noble prize, cause for wonder. — Alan Cheuse

This superb volume contains 25 of the much-honored artist's stories, allowing us to see both his steady development as a writer and the astonishing range of his themes, characters and settings. ... He has distilled myriad experiences into single unforgettable moments that truly are a cause for wonder. — Dallas Morning News

Obligatory for connoisseurs of modern American prose. — Kirkus Reviews

All of us who read stories ... rejoice in Morris's achievement and take special pleasure in spreading the good news that there is now a Collected Stories, bringing together old favorites and new friends in harmonious celebration. — George Garrett

The author of 19 novels and several volumes of essays, Mr Morris is a hard-working craftsman, expertly shifting tone and perspective to achieve a variety of effects, and he demonstrates a keen awareness of people's oddities and the bizarre turns that life can take: a man steps off the curb, is hit by "a pie truck headed south" and ends up in the hospital; a life-size doll, frozen in the ice of the local pond, turns out to be a drowned child; a man buys his wife an expensive pearl necklace at Bloomingdale's, then nonchalantly hands it over to a group of menacing teen-agers. — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Like a good gossip, he can make the tiniest details enthralling and necessary; can construct a trompe l'oeil world of unremarkable people devoted to their habits, like Dr Schuler in "The Origin of Sadness," who enjoys "canned grapefruit better then fresh, and never [ tires ] of peanut butter spread on white toast," but who also, in Beckett-like despair, tries to stare down time, "the deep freeze of all freezes." Such unpredictable juxtaposition is Mr Morris at his best. — Rosellen Brown, New York Times


The Deep Sleep
Copyright © 1975
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska Press
How to Buy

"Judge" Howard Potter, one of the most respected and influential citizens of a suburban town outside of Philadelphia, lies dead after a long and wearying illness. He is survived by the five people who knew him best and whose lives were deeply influenced by him. ... Through the thoughts and reminiscences of these five very different people Mr Morris tells his story. ... [His] writing is occasionally obscure but always absorbing. He does not, like so many writers, hover omnisciently over his characters. He prefers to project himself into their innermost and very human thoughts and emotions, leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions. ... Mr Morris writes with wit, taste, and refreshing originality. — William Murray, Saturday Review

Mr Morris is a master of the exact phrase, the homely illuminating detail, and it is no accident that he is an excellent photographer. ... His writing is simple, but his method is as complete as his subject matter, so he uses the multiple flashback, the melting of past into present. — New York Herald-Tribune Book Review

A thoroughly satisfying novel. — Commonweal

A most rewarding book. — Kirkus Reviews

His finest novel to date. — San Francisco Chronicle

With this novel he has clearly, and for the first time, ascended into literature. — New York Times Book Review


The Field of Vision
Copyright © 1974
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska Press
How to Buy

It would in fact be hard to call to mind another novelist of Mr Morris's generation who has been able to sustain through such a large body of work so clear a vision of the essence of the American experience, and to project it over and over again without tricks, without cheating and without once being tempted to afford his readers the kind of easy comfort that pays off in popular reputation. — John W Aldridge, New York Times

...one of the liveliest talents in the American novel today. — Walter Allen, The Modern Novel in Britain and the United States

...expresses a kind of hopelessly American anti-Americanism unparalleled since Mark Twain. — Leslie Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel

Here is a novelist who cannot write badly, whose most inconsequential work ... is so far beyond the range of most of today's younger writers that to them it might as well be Moby Dick. — Bruce Cook, Detroit News

Few American novelists have written so well in the late stages of their careers, and few have been so American in their work. — Michael Adams, Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Novelists since World War II

[T]he relationship between the identifiable past and the unknown future [has been Morris's] constant concern. — Leon Howard, Wright Morris

He is a writer of truly astonishing beauty and power....Not to know Wright Morris is not to know the silent, often lovely, stretches of ourselves. In these trackless, silent landscapes of the mind, we could have no better guide than Wright Morris. He may be the only guide we have. — Susan Fromberg Schaeffer Chicago Tribune Book World


Fire Sermon
Copyright © 1979
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

The ceremony of the old giving way to the new, the young breaking away from what is old, may well be the one constant in the ceaseless flux of American life. Fire Sermon reenacts this ceremony in the entangled lives of three young people and one old man. A chance meeting on the highway links a hippie couple to the eastward journey of an old man and a boy. For the boy it is a daily drama testing and questioning his allegiance. To which world does he belong? To the familiar ties and affections of the old or the disturbing and alluring charms of the new? — from the publisher

Morris published his first novel in 1942, has written fourteen others since, many of them superb, yet he somehow manages to remain perhaps the best-kept literary secret in the land. Morris's unique ability to explore human destiny in a subtle, self-effacing style is as strong as ever in this poignant and amusing little book. — Newsweek

A radiant expression of the art [Wright Morris] has developed through thirty years and fourteen earlier novels. Although it is anything but preachy it will stick in the minds of the congregation for a long time. ... On the one hand, this is a novel of alienation and on the other, a novel about the discovery of identity. The author's overall concern ... is the destiny of man. In this novel — perhaps more clearly and movingly than ever before — he carries the reader with him, until astonishment, awe, compassion, laughter, and exultation mingle in a tragic sense of life. — Granville Hicks, New York Times Book Review


The Home Place
Copyright © 1998
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

This account in first-person narrative and photographs of the one-day visit of Clyde Muncy to "the home place" at Lone Tree, Nebraska, has been called "as near to a new fiction form as you could get." Both prose and pictures are homely: worn linoleum, an old man's shoes, well-used kitchen utensils, and weathered siding. Muncy's journey of discovery takes the measure of the man he has become and of what he has left behind. — from the jacket

A Nebraska classic. — Saul Bellow

A pathbreaking and still unique example of the integration of photographs and narrative text. — Alan Trachtenberg.

That Wright Morris in his photographs seems to produce an indecent invasion of the privacy of his text is a tribute to his accurate and selective descriptive powers. — New York Times

The Home Place marked the cliimax of Morris's search for identify through the discovery of the past which "inhabited" him and gave him the invidiudal character he was always to maintain. He accepted his destiny as a midwestern novelist as completely as Faulkner accepted his as a southern one. — Leon Howard, Wright Morris

An extremely able photographer and a first-rate writer. — San Francisco Chronicle

A fine piece of Americana. — Library Journal

A superb and . . . revolutionary wedding of prose and pictures, a kind of new art form. — Omaha World-Herald


The Huge Season
Copyright © 1975
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

In this novel, set in 1952 but intermingling the past and present, the protagonist reviews the effects of the Jazz Age on himself and a friend, recalling their exploits in college, in Paris, and in love. The result is the picture of a generation. — from the publisher

A wonderful novel. It has power, meaning, freshness, vitality, and style. — Library Journal

The execution is brilliant. A master of the comic and deeply sensitive to the most inarticulate of American sorrows, Morris's work is moving as only truly original work can be. — New York Times

With increasing skill and insight, the serious (not solemn) contemporary novelist is evaluating our kind of cold war and anxiety by juxtaposing characters and situations of our own and earlier decades. ... Morris makes you see and feel as well as think. — Saturday Review

The Huge Season ... seems to me his best novel to date. ... A remarkable quality of this novel is the way in which the feel of the twenties is captured and the way in which it dominates the characters into the fifties. ... One has the sense in this novel not only of the rich young man as sacrificial hero but also of the enacting of a ritual of exorcism to which all associated with the hero must submit. — Walter Allen, The Modern Novel


In Orbit
Copyright © 1976
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

In the space of one day, Jubal E Gainer, high school dropout and draft dodger, manages to rack up an impressive array of crimes. ... He steals a friend's motorcycle, rapes a simple-minded spinster, mugs a pixyish professor, and stabs an obese visionary who runs a surplus store. He then waits out an Indiana twister and goes his way, leaving as much wreckage in his path as the twister itself. — Library Journal

In Orbit is a short novel, full of action, and the seriousness can mostly be found between the lines. [There] one can see against what Jubal Gainer's rebellion, thoughtless and aimless as it seems, is directed. One might say that he is, like millions of his contemporaries, a Huck Finn without a Mississippi. — Granville Hicks, Saturday Review

Here is another of Wright Morris's craftsmanly novels — terse, colloquial, restrained, fragmented, deliberately shadowy. Above all, small; not slight, not inconsequential, but a miniature. ... All readers will surely appreciate the quality of the prose style one has come to expect in a Wright Morris novel. ... There is also a muscular quality to Mr Morris's writing that makes it a suitable instrument for conveying harsher things; and there is his sense of the comic, which springs up constantly. In all, this is a quiet but rich performance. — New York Times Book Review


A LIfe
Copyright © 1980
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

Floyd Warner, eighty-two, has driven from California to his childhood home in Nebraska in his antique Maxwell coupe. There he confronts the smoldering remains of this late sister's house and the realization that he is now completely alone. As though in a trance, he sets out once again, this time to find his first adult home, a dusty sheep farm in the southwest, preparing to meet the fate that ultimately awaits him.
Of such deceptively simple ingredients is this brilliant portrait of the last hours of an old man's life composed. Floyd Warner, who first appeared in Fire Sermon, is perhaps the ultimate characterization in the career of a writer who has been called "quite simply the best novelist now writing in America" (John W Aldridge). — from the publisher

More than any of Morris's seventeen previous novels, the story takes off from the workaday world in search of the ineffable. ... The question is never deemed worth asking, whether this life was worth living. There is nothing here of the noble Willa Cather nostalgia for a Nebraska full of giants, or the facile Hemingway nostalgia for a Michigan of pliant girls and truly good trout. By the time Floyd is murdered for his watch, he has swollen into a huge and lonely figure. His death can stand for that of the white man's America, or of the whole human race. — Time


Love Among the Cannibals
Copyright © 1975
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

In Love Among the Cannibals, Wright Morris is concerned with primitive energies and his book is a genial, often very funny short novel such as DH Lawrence might have written if he could have been influence by John Steinbeck. — Yale Review

The narrator, Earl Horter, is a lyric writer of juke box songs. He and his partner Mac (the "poor man's Rodgers and Hart") are in Hollywood to work on a musical. They each pick up a girl — Mac's is a Memphis belle and Earl's is a Greek goddess — and the four take a trip to Acapulco where the primitive atmosphere reveals the true worth of each. — Kirkus

It can be debated whether in the novel — which is, by the way, highly readable, with some quite funny scenes — Mr Morris has produced a parable of force and quality or just taken a rest from serious writing; but either way Love Among the Cannibals should have considerable interest for those who have so far constituted his audience, and a stronger appeal for those to whom he is an unfamiliar writer. — Saturday Review.


Man and Boy
Copyright © 1974
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

I have read and admired all of Morris's books, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the most truly original of contemporary writers. His originality, his absolutely individual way of seeing and feeling, permeates Man and Boy, giving it its humor and wisdom. — Granville Hicks

For a long time I have not read a novel that gave me so much pleasure in original talent. [Morris] speaks completely in his own voice, a fascinating voice. He conveys the quality of the American gothic as no other writer I know has done. — Mark Schorer

Mother, Mr Morris seems to say [in Man and Boy], is unbeatable. Well, so in a way, is Mr Morris. He writes with the skill of a master satirist; his eye is sharp and his vision is clairvoyant. — New York Herald Tribune Books


The Man Who Was There
Copyright © 1977
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska Press
How to Buy

When it first appeared in 1945, this novel disconcerted a good many critics: Agee Ward, "the man who was there" of the title, ostensibly is the man who is not there — a member of the armed forces in World War II, he has been reported missing in action. Yet as we are shown various views of Agee and how he continues to affect the lives of others — among them Grandma Herkimer and Private Reagan, who knew him in boyhood; Peter Spavic and Mrs. Krickbaum, who refuse to believe that he is missing; Miss Gussie Newcomb, his landlady and (to her surprise) his heir — we come to perceive what Agee had in mind when he said "that anything really alive just went on and on." — from the publisher

An odd blend of impressionistic treatment, and realism, down to a photographic accuracy of minutiae — and phonographic record of sound. The man can write. — Kirkus Reviews

Reading this book gives one the same sort of pleasure and excitement and annoyance that leafing through an album of snapshots and sketches would provide if the album were a joint production of Daguerre, Braque, Grant Wood, Mathew Brady, and the Fresno News staff photographer. — Saturday Review of Literature


My Uncle Dudley
Copyright © 1974
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska Press
How to Buy

A wryly humorous chronicle of an odyssey which The Kid — the unnamed adolescent narrator — and his Uncle Dudley make across the country in an old Marmon touring car with seven men who share expenses. The events occur in the mid-1920s, 'the Homeric phase of the gas buggy era.' ... In the context of American fictional heritage, the passengers float down the Big Muddy on the raft, refugees from the world of Aunt Sally. Dudley and The Kid, and even the car, are archetypes — the Uncle one had, or wishes on had had; the Huck Finn some were and all would like to have been; and the car one would most like to have 'tooled' down the open road. — David Madden, Wright Morris

A brashly picaresque novel. ... Fast-paced, delightfully humorous, sometimes Rabelaisian. — The Nation


One Day
Copyright © 1965
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

Friday, November 22, 1963, in Escondido, California, begins with the discovery of an infant in the adoption basket at the local animal pound. This calculated effort to shock the natives is silenced by the news from Dallas of an event calculated to shock the world. One Day is concerned with the way these two events are related and with the time that begins when conventional time seems to have stopped. The events of this day, both comical and horrifying, make the commonplace seem strange, and the strange familiar. To accommodate the present, the past must be reshuffled, and events accounted for defy accounting. — from the publisher

Laying sure hands on the daily is Wright Morris's forte. What the rest of us may have accepted too casually he sets upon with his own highly specialized focus. In this novel, more than ever, the texture of the day and hour, the fabric of speech, the pattern of action are used to show forth the humor of objects, people, places, lives, and in their deeper, more mysterious interrelations is disclosed the larger shape of tragedy. — Eudora Welty


Plains Song: For Female Voices
Copyright © 2000
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

... at once a song of the Plains and plainsong melody which illuminates the beauty and complexity of human life ... rich in sensory detail, controlled in style, and powerful in impact. — Library Journal

Nowhere in [Morris's] fiction does emotion emerge from detail so beautifully as in this precise and vivid book. ... The triumph of the book, in terms of craft, is that we experience the sense of the slow passage of time so necessary to such a story. ... The heart of the book is its tactful rendering of the emotional history of several women. ... Precise, satisfying, and complete. — New York Times Book Review

This is a beautiful, subtle novel that accomplishes the rare effect of presenting history from the inside out. ... As the title suggests, this is a melody without accompaniment, music of the simplest and most beautiful kind. Perhaps it is because Morris sketches his characters so sparingly that they seem so indelible. They are such a real presence that it's hard to think they haven't actually lived. — Christian Science Monitor

Wright Morris knows the embattled regions within his people as well as the harshly beautiful landscapes that surround them. — New Republic

...tactful rendering of the emotional history of several women, but woven in with this is the social history of a particular part of the country. — Larry McMurtry, New York Times Book Review

[Sharon Rose] continues to feel the pull of the lives, especially Cora's, spent and spilled on the Plains and finally understands and values the dignity if not the sacrifice implicit in those lives. Plains Song is a great hymn to the pioneer spirit and particularly to women in whom, Morris believes, that spirit lives most powerfully. — Critique


Solo: An American Dreamer in Europe
Copyright © 1984
by Wright Morris
Penguin Books
How to Buy

...a charming account of a year spent in Europe 50 years ago by the prolific novelist.... Why do we read with such relish if the author doesn't grow or even react to his experiences all that dramatically? As much because of the details as anything. A washer attached to a pipestem, "green as the bit in the mouth of a horse," that enables a train conductor to talk without removing his pipe from his mouth, the bright red earmuffs worn by the chauffeur of the Austrian castle's master, an acquaintance's suit worn so thin at the knees that his underwear shows through when he is seated — such details, recalled from half a century ago, are set down as in an intricate still life composed with deadpan humor. The more you look the more you see, and the more you see the more you delight. — Christopher Lehmann- Haupt, New York Times

Wright Morris's Solo is one of the few memoirs I've read that admits it's possible to go abroad and have a crummy time. His plain-spoken but vivid account of a year he spent in Europe after college is embarrassingly truthful. In Paris, "a city the color of smeared newsprint," he was horrified to find the toilets had no bowls; he couldn't understand anyone's French; he was too intimidated by the way the waiters in the cafes "flicked their napkins at the seats of the chairs" to sit down; the apple he bought from a vendor had worms. There may be those fortunate enough to have lucked into the bawdy, rollicking Paris of Henry Miller, but for this reviewer, anyway, Mr Morris's doleful experience is more like it. — James Atlas, New York Times


The Territory Ahead
Copyright © 1994
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska Press
How to Buy

A book of criticism explicitly concerned with the uses and abuses of the past in light of the immediate present. — Leon Howard, Wright Morris

[Wright Morris's thesis is] nostalgia has been the curse of American literature. — Granville Hicks, Wright Morris: A Reader


Time Pieces: Photographs,
Writing, and Memory
Copyright © 1978
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

In Time Pieces, award-winning novelist and photographer Wright Morris provides an introspective investigation into the relationships between photographs and text. This seminal collection of essays, on subjects ranging from portraits of pioneers in the American West to writings by Susan Sontag and Henry James, provides a kaleidoscope of "time pieces" that serve to illuminate a complex, expressive, and evolving art form. It is Morris's singular gift that he is able to bring out such a rich and vibrant dialogue between the world of photography and the world of literature. — from the publisher


War Games
Copyright © 1978
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

All of [Morris's] considerable skill and cunning have been compressed in [War Games,] a novella written twenty years ago and never published for reasons as bewildering as they are incomprehensible, for here he has crystallized those facets of his writing that have distinguished his memorable career as a literary artist. — Virginia Quarterly Review


What a Way to Go
Copyright © 1979
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

The reader of this rollicking novel, first published in 1962, accompanies forty-seven-year-old Professor Arnold Soby (regarded by his girl students as safe and acceptable, but also good fun) on a sabbatical voyage to Italy and Greece. Among Soby's shipboard companions are Miss Winifred Throop, retired head mistress of the Winnetka Country Day School; her companion and colleague, Miss Mathilde Kollwitz, teacher of French and German; and Miss Thropp's seventeen-year-old niece, Cynthia Pomeroy, beautiful, scatterbrained, and studiously vulgar. Standing off the challenges of Italian and Swiss rivals, Soby pursues Cynthia through the waterways and plazas of Venice, the hills of Corfu, the ruins of Athens, and aboard the tiny, rolling, pitching tub Hephaistos in Greek waters. As is characteristic of Wright Morris's fiction, the real story develops beneath the surface of the brilliantly entertaining narrative. — from the publisher

A triumph of Dickensian grotesquerie, of riotous set pieces, and of memorable — even incredible — characters. ... The book is crammed with incident and with finely drawn minor characters. But the focus of the novel is on Soby, Miss Throop, Miss Kollwitz, and Cynthia — and these stylized portraits ought to last in American fiction. — Library Journal


Will's Boy
Copyright © 1982
by Wright Morris
Penguin Group
How to Buy

He is very much alive to the comic possibilities in his father's life and his own childhood — but like a good Westerner, he prefers to tell the story with a straight face. He is even more aware of the serious possibilities of life, and especially of childhood. What really interests him is the growth of awareness. The book begins in a kind of imagism — the random impressions of a small boy in Central City — and gradually becomes clear and narrative and orderly as the boy grows up. The dawn of consciousness to 10 AM, so to speak. Despite the very different kind of childhood described, the book has much in common with Henry James's Notes of a Son and Brother and much with Wordsworth's Prelude. — Noel Perrin, New York Times


The Works of Love
Copyright © 1972
by Wright Morris
Harper & Row
How to Buy

When I was a boy of eight in the Platte Valley of Nebraska, my father made the first of the many moves that would prove to be of interest to a future writer of fiction. They were east to Chicago, the point on the map where all the lines pointed. Almost twenty years would pass before I would seek to recapture the past that I had experienced.
The Works of Love is the first fruit of that effort, and the linchpin in my novels concerned with the plains. The reader who has read The Home Place or The Field of Vision will find in this novel the crux of an experience I frequently return to but never exhaust. — Wright Morris


The World in the Attic
Copyright © 1971
by Wright Morris
U of Nebraska P
How to Buy

Wright Morris's "Nebraska Trilogy" (1946-49) embodies his attempt to capture and come to terms with his past. According to David Madden, in his study Wright Morris, "In The Inhabitants [a picture collection] the emphasis is on the artifacts inhabited and on the land; in The Home Place [narrative and pictures], on the inhabitants themselves; and in The World in the Attic, on what the land and the people signify to one man, Clyde Muncy, writer and self-exiled Nebraskan. ... What was only suggested to Muncy in The Home Place is further developed, although not entirely resolved, in The World in the Attic. ... [In it], Morris achieves the kind of objective conceptualization that is characteristic of his best novels. The first half of the book is impressionistic, a series of reminiscences like The Home Place; but the second half has a novelist narrative line. In The Home Place, the past, saturated in the immediate present, is merely alluded to. In The World in the Attic, however, the past is specifically and dramatically related to the present. — from the publisher


Writing My LIfe: An Autobiography
Copyright © 1993
by Wright Morris
David R Godine
How to Buy

The long-awaited autobiography by the great American writer (b 1910) whose novel The Field of Vision received the National Book Award in 1956, and whose most recent novel, Plains Song, won the 1981 American Book Award for Fiction. — BookNews


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