Still No Word from You

Notes in the Margin

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9781646221363 | Hardcover 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 320 pages Buy it Now

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9781646221370 | Ebook | 320 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

A new collection of pieces on literature and life by the author of Am I Alone Here?, a finalist for the NBCC Award for Criticism

Stationed in the South Pacific during World War II, Seymour Orner wrote a letter every day to his wife, Lorraine. She seldom responded, leading him to plead in 1945, “Another day and still no word from you.” Seventy years later, Peter Orner writes in response to his grandfather’s plea: “Maybe we read because we seek that word from someone, from anyone.”
 
From the acclaimed fiction writer about whom Dwight Garner of The New York Times wrote, “You know from the second you pick him up that he’s the real deal,” comes Still No Word from You, a unique chain of essays and intimate stories that meld the lived life and the reading life. For Orner, there is no separation. Covering such well-known writers as Lorraine Hansberry, Primo Levi, and Marilynne Robinson, as well as other greats like Maeve Brennan and James Alan McPherson, Orner’s highly personal take on literature alternates with his own true stories of loss and love, hope and despair. In his mother’s copy of A Coney Island of the Mind, he’s stopped short by a single word in the margin, “YES!”—which leads him to conjure his mother at twenty-three. He stops reading Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Beginning of Spring three quarters of the way through because he knows that finishing the novel will leave him bereft. Orner’s solution is to start again from the beginning to slow the inevitable heartache.
 
Still No Word from You is a book for anyone for whom reading is as essential as breathing.

About the Author

Praise For This Book

"Peter Orner's work clings close to life, to the unadorned, untranscended, dear and haunting Actual." ––Marilynne Robinson

“This is a unique concoction, with essays bleeding into stories, and coming out the other side, and creating something new. Still No Word from You is a beautiful piece of work that demonstrates the special illumination on life granted by a passion for reading.” ––Kevin Barry, author of Night Boat to Tangier

"What to call this gloriously strange marvel of a book devoted to other books? Who cares? Still No Word from You offers solace to those among us who look out windows, whose minds wander, who are bewildered by time and memory. It is an elegy to long-gone houses, bookstores, teachers, family, writers, and all of the murmuring dead; an ode to the parenthetical, which, it turns out, is not parenthetical at all; a beautiful testament to the way the books we love are not merely as real as life, they are life." ––Maud Casey, author of City of Incurable Women

"Still No Word from You is a sharp-edged and heartfelt mosaic of the reading life. I know of no other writer working today who so exquisitely and seamlessly brings together storytelling, memoir, essay, and the act of reading as both a visionary and an intimate journey." ––Eduardo Halfon, author of Mourning