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Book Title: A Gay and Melancholy Sound|
The author of the book: Merle Miller
Date of issue: 1961
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 361 KB
Edition: William Sloane Associates
Read full description of the books A Gay and Melancholy Sound:The first book in nationally renowned librarian Nancy Pearl's new Book Lust Rediscoveries series, this lost literary classic is available for the first time in decades. As funny and entertaining as it is captivating and heartrending, A Gay and Melancholy Sound is a shattering depiction of modern disconnection and the tragic consequences of a life bereft of love.
Joshua Bland has lived the kind of life many would define as extraordinary. Born in a small Iowa town to a controlling, delusional mother who had always wanted a daughter rather than a son, her anger at him colors his life. His father, a compassionate drinker incapable of dealing with Joshua's mother, walks out on his wife and son, leaving a vacuum in the family that is damagingly filled by his tutor-cum-stepfather Petrarch Pavan, scion of a wealthy New York family who has secrets of his own. Playing on Joshua's brilliance, Petrarch trains him to win a nationwide knowledge competition, but Joshua's disappointing results in the finals are met with anger and disbelief by both his mother and stepfather. If Petrarch was unsuccessful in teaching Joshua the information he needed to win the contest, he had more success in instilling Joshua with the cynicism, self-doubt, and self-hatred that fill his own soul.
Enlisting in the army during World War II, he serves first as an infantryman, where his irreverent letters home turn him into a best-selling author. Then, as a paratrooper, he meets the physical challenges he thought were beyond his reach and helps free the concentration camps before being wounded as the Allied forces free Buchenwald. Back home after the war, he becomes a wildly successful producer — and all of this by the age of thirty-seven. But when his production company flounders amid critical and financial woes, the reality of who he is becomes perfectly, depressingly clear: he has had a lifetime of extraordinary experiences — and no emotional connection to any of it.
Read information about the authorMerle Miller, born in Montour, Iowa, wrote almost a dozen books, including more than half a dozen novels. His first, ''That Winter'' (1948), was considered one of the best novels about the postwar readjustment of World War II veterans. His other novels included ''A Day in Late September,'' set in suburban Connecticut on a Sunday in September 1960, ''The Sure Thing,'' ''Reunion,'' and his masterwork, the monumental "A Gay and Melancholy Sound" (1960).
Oral biographies accounted for his greatest success. The first of them, ''Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman,'' was published in 1974. It was adapted from an abortive television series for which the former President spent many hours in the early 1960's talking with Miller, the researcher and writer for the project.
His Johnson biography, a book for which he conducted 180 interviews and consulted almost 400 oral histories, was a best seller in 1980. Although he said he began the biography disliking the former President, in part because Miller was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, he ended up appreciating Mr. Johnson's parliamentary achievements and calling him ''one of the most complex, fascinating Presidents of all time.''
In 1971, Miller wrote a widely discussed essay for The New York Times Magazine, ''What It Means to Be a Homosexual,'' which, he said, brought him more than 2,000 letters, many of them from other homosexuals thanking him for helping to restore their self-respect. This article, and the enlarged book published from it, "On Being Different," made Miller the first nationally-known advocate for gay rights. He closely followed that famous essay with the novel "What Happened," fictionalizing some of his own horrific life experiences which lay behind the NYT essay.
Miller attended the University of Iowa and spent a year at the London School of Economics. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served as an editor of Yank magazine, in both the Pacific and in Europe, until his discharge in September 1945. He worked briefly as an editor at Time and Harper's magazines.
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