Escape Velocity by Jay Jennings
A Charles Portis Miscellany

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...he sounds satisfied with the celebrity he has already attained on the road...
-WSJ online

Synopsis

For those who care about literature or simply love a good laugh (or both), Charles Portis has long been one of America's most admired novelists. His 1968 novel True Grit is fixed in the contemporary canon, and four more have been hailed as comic masterpieces. Now, for the first time, his other writings--journalism, travel stories, short fiction, memoir, and even a play--have been brought together in Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany, his first new book in more than twenty years.

All the familiar Portis elements are here: picaresque adventures, deadpan humor, an expert eye for detail and keen ear for the spoken word, and encounters with oddball characters both real and imagined. The collection encompasses the breadth of his fifty-year writing career, from his gripping reportage of the civil rights movement for the New York Herald Tribune to a comic short story about the demise of journalism in the 21st century. New to even the most ardent fan is his three-act play, Delray's New Moon, performed onstage in 1996 and published here for the first time.

Whether this is your first encounter with the world of Portis or a long-awaited return to it, you'll agree with critic Ron Rosenbaum--whose essay appears here alongside tributes by other writers--that Portis "will come to be regarded as the author of classics on the order of a twentieth-century Mark Twain, a writer who captures the soul of America."
 

About Jay Jennings

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Jay Jennings is a freelance writer who has contributed to the New York Times, Travel & Leisure, the Oxford American, and many other magazines and newspapers. A former reporter for Sports Illustrated and features editor at Tennis magazine, he edited Tennis and the Meaning of Life: A Literary Anthology of the Game. He lives in Little Rock.
 
Published October 1, 2012 by Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. 380 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Escape Velocity
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Carlo Rotella on Oct 05 2012

It’s a little startling, at first, to see the grand dragon, Bull Connor and Dick Gregory, among others, sketched as Portis characters in his journalism.

Read Full Review of Escape Velocity: A Charles Po... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Wes Davis on Nov 16 2012

...he sounds satisfied with the celebrity he has already attained on the road...

Read Full Review of Escape Velocity: A Charles Po... | See more reviews from WSJ online

NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by John Powers on Oct 25 2012

...what makes his work magical is the deadpan brilliance of his language, which is at once extraordinarily observant...and yet comically askew, so that we see the world in a way we've not quite seen it before.

Read Full Review of Escape Velocity: A Charles Po... | See more reviews from NPR

Reader Rating for Escape Velocity
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