133rd out of 651 books — 119 voters
A Different Person: A Memoir
James Merrill--winner of the Pulitzer and National Book Award--is one of America's most celebrated poets. This acclaimed memoir--nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award--traces Merrill's painful yet often hilarious life as a young man. "Stands with Merrill's finest work."-- Los Angeles Times Book Review.
Paperback, 271 pages
Published October 28th 1994 by HarperOne
(first published 1993)
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the first few pages were dazzling -- the tone, mesmerizing. Scott has always seemed giddy about The Changing Light at Sandover -- which I have never read. I hope it's not one of those books where he worked really hard on the opening passages and scribbled the rest. Fingers crossed.
Quirkily written and sometimes hard to follow, but generally a compelling, thoughtful and unique perspective on gay life, Europe and personal struggles in the 1950s. Merrill's story is inherently interesting, as the son of the creator of Merrill-Lynch and a privileged, brilliant poet. The book initially struck me as egotistical and pretentious, but won me over with Merrill's ultimate sense of compassion, objectivity and unwavering confidence about who he is and what he's about.
I wanted to like this book; I liked Sterne's absurd account of traveling Italy, I liked the Greek poet Kavafy, I liked the friend who gave me the book as a going-away present when I moved to Rome. Sadly, it was much like listening to a transcript of someone's therapy session--and not even someone you know, or like, or agree with about opera, or want to date... Merrill's furtive loves, petulant break-ups, and long musings on repression are not punctuated often enough by any of those moments that...more
James Merrill, the poet, was the son of one of the co-founders of Merrill Lynch, and as such lived a cosseted and privileged life. This tells of his youthful life in Europe in the early 1950s, and he has a poet's skill for rendering the sights and exotic people he encountered.
James Ingram Merrill was born on March 3, 1926, and died on February 6, 1995. From the mid-1950s on, he lived in Stonington, Connecticut, and for extended periods he also had houses in Athens and Key West. From The Black Swan (1946) through A Scattering of Salts (1995), he wrote twelve books of poems, ten of them published in trade editions, as well as The Changing Light at Sandover (1982). He als...moreMore about James Merrill...