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Marquand: An American life Hardcover – 1979


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 537 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; 1st edition (1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316088285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316088282
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,883,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth T. Wasserman on April 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After reading, "Point of No Return," I was interested in learning more about the author of this intriguing novel. Millicent Bell's literary biography fills the bill in spades. I came away with a much greater understanding of John P. Marquand, and how his life intersected with his characters, plot and theme of the book I had read. In addition, the biography offers analysis and commentary of the author's novels, which gave me a fuller critical perspective. The fact of Marquand's own unfulfilled life can be fruitfully read into the analysis of "Point of No Return" and his other novels, as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jsa on December 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Marquand is best remembered for his Pulitzer prize winning novel, "The Late George Apley," yet he wrote a number of other significant novels that were very popular in their time and well worth reading today. Besides "Apley," his most important books include "H.M. Pulham, Esq.," "Wickford Point," "So Little Time," "Point of No Return," "B.F.'s Daughter," "Sincerely, Willis Wayde," and "Women and Thomas Harrow." While most of Marquand's books were big sellers, and several were adapted for the stage and screen, he's pretty much neglected today - a puzzling situation given that some of his work is equal if not superior to anything Sinclair Lewis wrote.

Marquand was deserving of an in-depth biography - something more than Stephen Birmingham's fine biographical memoir "The Late John Marquand" (1971) - when Millicent Bell's "Marquand: An American Life" appeared in 1979. While an impressive amount of research went into the writing of this book (an accumulation of detail is presented that makes for interesting, but sometimes tedious reading), Ms. Bell also brought a fixed point of view to her complicated subject, who appears as the protagonist in his own semi-autobiographical books, that can't always be reconciled with a close reading of Marquand's books themselves. This is particularly true of Bell's interpretation of Marquand's later work, especially "Sincerely, Willis Wayde" where her interpretation often directly conflicts with the book itself. Having reached a conclusion, Ms. Bell is sometimes guilty of distorting the material to make it fit her own point of view - not uncommon in a biographer - but this only slightly diminishes her achievement, which is still considerable.
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