On Broken Glass by Susan Thornton
Loving and Losing John Gardner

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Synopsis

This intimate portrait of a major American writer explores his tumultuous creative life and is a candid memoir of a love affair cut short by his violent death. "DIED. John Gardner, 49," read the Time magazine obituary, "prolific author of stylistically adventuresome fiction, enthusiastic teacher and sometimes, messianic literary critic, of injuries sustained when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed; near his home in Susquehanna, Pa., four days before he was to have married for the third time." The woman John Gardner was to have married that September of 1982 was a vivacious, talented young writer named Susan Thornton, and On Broken Glass is the story of her exhilarating and sometimes devastating relationship with the author of Grendel, Nickel Mountain, The Sunlight Dialogues, and the award-winning October Light. Poignantly recalled from that moment when she first meets the seductive Gardner at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in 1979, with stinging emotional resonance Thornton's tale relates both the rapture of ardent physical love and the torments of adulterous deceit. It provides, too, an insider's view of the troubling events that surrounded Gardner's untimely death at the same time that it explores the scope of his genius and maps the downward spiral of a demon-ridden alcoholic life. Intimate letters never before published further illuminate the creative appetite and imaginative power of this accomplished, often controversial novelist. On Broken Glass stands as a testament to a love that endures betrayals, trials, and tragic loss. It also comprises a profoundly realized affirmation of life, of continuance, and unexpected peace.
 

About Susan Thornton

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Thornton has worked in journalism and higher education.
 
Published October 1, 2000 by Da Capo Press. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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The compassionate picture she offers does not fully explain the appeal of a man who not only drank too much but pitted Rosenberg and Thornton against each other, belted Thornton when she was pregnant with their child, and slept with yet another woman three weeks before their intended marriage to ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Aspects of Thornton's memoir of her tortured, passionate love affair with the charismatic, macho--and alcoholic--American author John Gardner (October Light, which won the National Book Award, etc.) r

Nov 08 2000 | Read Full Review of On Broken Glass: Loving and L...

Publishers Weekly

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Aspects of Thornton's memoir of her tortured, passionate love affair with the charismatic, macho--and alcoholic--American author John Gardner (October Light, which won the National Book Award, etc.) read like a novel.

| Read Full Review of On Broken Glass: Loving and L...

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