Mentor: A Memoir
Mentor: A Memoir
Mentor: A Memoir

Tin House Books

Mentor: A Memoir

  • Publish Date: 2010-08-01
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Tom Grimes
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Booklist review
Mentor: A Memoir
Grimes' candid and finely wrought memoir is at once a self-portrait of the writer as an anxious MFA student and homage to his guiding light, Frank Conroy, the legendary director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the crucible from which so many extraordinary writers emerged, from Flannery O'Connor to Kurt Vonnegut to Marilynne Robinson. Grimes was in his thirties when he arrived, weary of waiting tables and writing in grim isolation. Conroy had unshakable faith in Grimes, and the two formed a profound bond. Writing with the qualities Conroy tirelessly championed-- meaning, sense, clarity --Grimes not only expresses boundless love and gratitude for Conroy, he also unveils with rare specificity the strange trance borne of concentrating on the endless possibilities of language, and the initial elation and eventual complications of publication. Fascinating literary anecdotes give way to somber revelations of the nervous breakdowns Conroy and Grimes each endured. Grimes' staggering self-critique, keen tribute to Conroy as writer and mentor, and hard-won insights into the true demands of writing and the deep resonance of literature are arresting and cautionary, inspiring and affecting. -- Donna Seaman

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