The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn
A Novel

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Synopsis

"In this brilliant and hilarious jailbreak of a novel, Charyn channels the genius poet and her great leaps of the imagination."—Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review


Jerome Charyn, "one of the most important writers in American literature" (Michael Chabon), continues his exploration of American history through fiction with The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, hailed by prize-winning literary historian Brenda Wineapple as a "breathtaking high-wire act of ventriloquism." Channeling the devilish rhythms and ghosts of a seemingly buried literary past, Charyn removes the mysterious veils that have long enshrouded Dickinson, revealing her passions, inner turmoil, and powerful sexuality. The novel, daringly written in first person, begins in the snow. It's 1848, and Emily is a student at Mount Holyoke, with its mournful headmistress and strict, strict rules. Inspired by her letters and poetry, Charyn goes on to capture the occasionally comic, always fevered, ultimately tragic story of her life-from defiant Holyoke seminarian to dying recluse.
 

About Jerome Charyn

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Jerome Charyn , a master of lyrical farce and literary ventriloquism, published his first novel in 1964. The author of Johnny One-Eye and dozens of other acclaimed novels and nonfiction works, he lives in New York and Paris.
 
Published February 14, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 348 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson

Kirkus Reviews

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(Emily first becomes intrigued by an arrow-and-heart tattoo on Tom’s arm.) Throughout Emily’s life he resurfaces under various guises, and Emily never loses her infatuation, though at times she admits she might be more in love with the fantasy rather than with the reality of Tom.

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The New York Times

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Jerome Charyn imagines an Emily Dickinson consumed with obsessive desire for a handyman, a scholar and other fictional men.

Feb 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dick...

BC Books

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Shrouded in mystery, Emily Dickinson and her life have continued to be of interest to those enthralled with her writing.

Feb 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dick...

Examiner

When Zilpah is hired as the Dickinson's maid, she quickly forges a lasting bond with Emily's father - something Emily struggles throughout her life to obtain.

Oct 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dick...

Book Reporter

In an outstanding tribute to one of the greats, author Jerome Charyn brings Emily Dickinson back to her full living form, challenging perceptions we've been left with.

Apr 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dick...

The Globe and Mail

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Young Emily sees herself as a Mouse, and who else but a mouse could pen lines such as these: Several of Nature's people/ I know, and they know me;/ I feel for them a transport/ Of cordiality Although this novel lacks the forward drive we have come to expect from modern storytelling, it makes u...

Apr 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dick...

The Washington Post

THE SECRET LIFE OF EMILY DICKINSON.

Feb 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dick...

PopMatters

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn takes readers through the surprisingly adventurous, often chaotic, and most likely fictitious life of the poet Emily Dickinson.

May 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dick...

Historical Novel Society

Though the author’s sheer cleverness at times distanced me emotionally from the heroine and the other characters, I nonetheless found the novel as a whole to be a moving and fascinating depiction of Dickinson’s relationships, the milieu in which she moved, and her rich inner life.

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Bookmarks Magazine

The flighty, unbalanced and childish Emily is given far more voice in these pages than the profound writer who claimed, ‘I dwell in Possibility.'" Ron Charles NY Times Book Review 2 of 5 Stars "Sadly, Charyn's greatest risk, Emily's voice, resembles a clotted mosaic, pieced together from bit...

Feb 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Life of Emily Dick...

AuthorsDen

Top Poetry Browse by Category (Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry, News and Events) • Action & Thriller • Architecture • Arts & Entertainment • Biographies • Business • ...

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Reader Rating for The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson
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