Such a Life by Lee Martin
(American Lives)

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Lee Martin tells us in his memoir, “I was never meant to come along. My parents married late. My father was thirty-eight, my mother forty-one. When he found out she was pregnant, he asked the doctor, ‘Can you get rid of it?’” From such an inauspicious beginning, Martin began collecting impressions that, through the tincture of time and the magic of his narrative gift, have become the finely wrought pieces of Such a Life.
  Whether recounting the observations of a solemn child, understood only much later, or exploring the intricacies of neighborhood politics at middle age, Martin offers us a richly detailed, highly personal view that effortlessly expands to illuminate our world.
  At a tender age Martin moved to a new level of complexity, of negotiating silences and sadness, when his father lost both of his hands in a farming accident. His stories of youth (from a first kiss to a first hangover) and his reflections on age (as a vegan recalling the farm food of his childhood or as a writer contemplating the manual labor of his father and grandfather) bear witness to the observant child he was and the insightful and irresistible storyteller he’s become. His meditations on family form a highly evocative portrait of the relationships at the heart of our lives.

About Lee Martin

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Lee Martin is the author of the award-winning story collection "The Least You Need to Know" & the recipient of an NEA fellowship among other awards. He is a professor of English at the University of North Texas & the editor of the "American Literary Review". Dutton will publish his first novel, "Just Enough Haughty", in June 2001.
Published March 1, 2012 by University of Nebraska Press. 232 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Martin can seemingly turn any subject back to his hardscrabble youth: Asked to write about the Pittsburgh mansion of robber baron Henry Clay Frick, he bounces the industrialist’s wealth against the lives of the working-class men he better relates to.

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Publishers Weekly

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Martin's latest book (after From Our House) is a collection of essays exploring family, memory, the act of writing the past, and the author's childhood and adolescence in Southern Illinois.

Apr 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Such a Life (American Lives)

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