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Timebends: A Life New edition Edition

2.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0413773401
ISBN-10: 041377340X
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 614 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Publishing Ltd; New edition edition (June 14, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041377340X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413773401
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,563,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This was going to be a 5-star review. But I have learned this week while reading "Timebends" for the first time -- twenty years after its first publication -- that Arthur Miller and his third wife, Inge Morath, had a son, Daniel, who was born with Down syndrome in 1966. Daniel's name does not appear in the text or index of "Timebends." According to an article in the September 2007 issue of Vanity Fair, Miller had Daniel banished to a state institution almost immediately after birth, and that he thereafter completely excised Daniel from his life. It's heartbreaking. According to Vanity Fair, Daniel, who is now 41, is relatively high-functioning and a very happy, content and spirited person. But when Daniel's mother, Inge, (who was well-known in her own right as a photographer) died in 2002 and the New York Times called Miller for information about his family, he again omitted the name of his youngest son. Inge visited Daniel regularly until her death, and celebrated holidays with him. I wonder how much friction her refusal to simply throw him away caused in the Miller household? Not enough to divide the couple, it seems. They were married 40 years.

In my view, to have denied his son's existence is an unforgivable blind spot for an artist so widely revered and admired for his empathy and his brave stances as a moral force for justice and compassion. As the VF article points out, shame, selfishness and fear could all have been motivators for Arthur Miller's decision. Still, after reading more than 500 pages of musings and meditations by a truly masterful writer -- a man all too aware of his own humanity; both of his talents and his limitations, I feel betrayed.
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For such a well regarded playwright, I found the writing tedious. Miller's comments on the times added nothing that one familiar with the post-WWI period would not already know.

I had hoped to learn more about the author's character and inner thoughts, but was disappointed. At times, what came across as irrelevant commentary or details seemed intended almost to obscure rather than reveal.

By 50 pages, I was exasperated and starting to skim, shaking my head in wonderment at those with the patience to wade through all 600 pages of this.

About the only interesting parts were Miller's comments on his plays and some of their underlying themes or motivations.
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