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Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write: An Autobiography in Essays

Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write: An Autobiography in Essays cover

Kant's Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write: An Autobiography in Essays

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A glimpse into a beloved novelist’s inner world, shaped by family, art, and literature.

In her fiction, Claire Messud "has specialized in creating unusual female characters with ferocious, imaginative inner lives" (Ruth Franklin, New York Times Magazine). Kant’s Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write opens a window on Messud’s own life: a peripatetic upbringing; a warm, complicated family; and, throughout it all, her devotion to art and literature.

In twenty-six intimate, brilliant, and funny essays, Messud reflects on a childhood move from her Connecticut home to Australia; the complex relationship between her modern Canadian mother and a fiercely single French Catholic aunt; and a trip to Beirut, where her pied-noir father had once lived, while he was dying. She meditates on contemporary classics from Kazuo Ishiguro, Teju Cole, Rachel Cusk, and Valeria Luiselli; examines three facets of Albert Camus and The Stranger; and tours her favorite paintings at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. In the luminous title essay, she explores her drive to write, born of the magic of sharing language and the transformative powers of “a single successful sentence.”

Together, these essays show the inner workings of a dazzling literary mind. Crafting a vivid portrait of a life in celebration of the power of literature, Messud proves once again "an absolute master storyteller" (Rebecca Carroll, Los Angeles Times).

Claire Messud is the author of six works of fiction. A recipient of a Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her family.

ISBN: 9781324006756

ISBN-10: 9781324006756

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Publication Date: 10/13/2020 - 12:00am

On Sale: 10/13/2020 - 12:00am

Pages: 336

Language: English

Categories

Literary Collections / Essays

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

Literary Collections / Women Authors