[Tribute Books Blog Tour&Review] The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn

Posted 15 February, 2011 by Molly(Cover To Cover Cafe) in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

About the Book:
Jerome Charyn has been writing some of the boldest and most adventurous American fiction for over forty years. His ten-book cycle of novels of madcap New York mayor and police commissioner Isaac Sidel inspired a new generation of younger writers in America and France, where he is a national literary icon. Now, adding to his already distinguished career, Charyn gives us The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, an audacious novel about the inner imaginative world of America’s greatest poet. Channeling the devilish rhythms and ghosts of a seemingly buried literary past, Charyn has removed the mysterious veils that have long enshrouded Dickinson, revealing her passions, inner turmoil, and powerful sexuality.

About the Author:
Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since the 1964 release of Charyn’s first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009.

In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn’s book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, “The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong.”

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

Visit Mr. Charyn’s website here

Connect with Mr. Charyn on Facebook and Twitter

My Review:
 I’m really not sure how to put into words, what I want to say about this book, other than I was quite disappointed. It was certainly not in my line of reads. It sounded interesting upon given the chance to review, but when I actually sat down to read it, I become confused and lost during much of the book. I didn’t like this book, however, that being said, I liked how the author created the story by blending both fact with the fiction to put forth an interesting novel that someone is sure to find to their liking. 

I feel that the reason I don’t like this book is because I am not much of one who kept up with Emily Dickinson. I learned about her in my English classes, sure, but she was one that never “caught” my eye for poetry and the likes. But, like with all the books I read, I felt that this novel deserved a chance to be reviewed and recommended. 

The novel brings us to the “secret” life of Emily Dickinson in a diary sort of form. It’s told in her first person narrative as she becomes a person that one would never begin to think that Emily Dickinson would become. VERY interesting, indeed. Definitely not a life that you envision a poetess to have had. 

That being said, while I myself feel the need to only give a 3 star review, please give this novel and Mr. Charyn a try. Those of you out there who like Emily Dickinson and are interested in her, then this is a novel that you won’t want to miss. 

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You can purchase your copy here

*This book was provided for review by Tribute Books*

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