In Memoriam – Evan S. Connell

American novelist, poet and short story author Evan S. Connell (M) has passed away at the age of 88. A literary critic’s favourite, he was a winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and nominated for a Man Booker Prize Lifetime Achievement award.
Eccentric, idiosyncratic, he writes what he wants. Throughout his body of work there is a consistent clarity, an unblinking authorial eye that doesn’t render judgment but simply presents his characters real and imagined, writ large and small, leaving room for the reader to participate in the creation of the narrative.” – A. M. Homes
Born in Kansas City in 1924, the only son of a physician, he went on to study creative writing at both Columbia and Standford University. His father wanted his son to follow in his medical footsteps – “He was concerned that I would never be able to make a living at this kind of thing – it was a justifiable concern, I think” said Connell. Fortunately, Evan Connell did make a decent living as a writer, especially after the publication of Son of the Morning Star, which was later made in to a Emmy award winning TV mini-series.
In Memoriam - Evan S. Connell He is probably best known for his non-fiction work on General Custer, Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn. He also received much acclaim for his two novels, Mr. Bridge (1959)  and Mrs. Bridge (1969), which were later adapted for film in 1990, Mr and Mrs. Bridge starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
His latest work is 2008’s Lost in Uttar Pradesh: new and selected stories. Booklist gave this collection a starred reviewed:
In Memoriam - Evan S. Connell “Connell is best known for his classic novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge and for his best-selling account of General Custer’s battle at Little Big Horn, Son of the Morning Star (1984). Aficionados of the short story, however, have long known Connell to be a master of the form, and this is his first collection of new and previously published stories in more than 10 years. With a singular style marked by concision, vivid detail, and oblique narration, Connell is not easy to read yet remains consistently mesmerizing. 
In the 22 stories collected here, he provides an update, in “Mrs. Proctor Bemish,” on the pitch-perfect portrait of the repressed midwestern psyche immortalized in the Bridge novels; continues to tease out the differences between inveterate travelers and workaday citizens; and creates, out of mundane events such as a disastrous dinner party or a wedding anniversary celebration, stark moments of alienation and disaffection. Amid the bleakness, however, he also summons fleeting joy and wry comedy. In particular, the three lengthy stories featuring Muhlbach, whose wife is dying, contain luminous depictions of Muhlbach’s children—his doll-like daughter, Donna, and his masterfully manipulative son, Otto, who agitates in hilarious fashion to postpone his bedtime. By turns haunting and mysterious, Connell’s work continues to intrigue.” Booklist
May he rest in peace.


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