Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Timebends: A Life” as Want to Read:
Timebends: A Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Timebends: A Life

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  446 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Timebends: A Life
Paperback, 656 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (first published November 1st 1987)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Timebends, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Timebends

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  446 ratings  ·  45 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Timebends: A Life
Elizabeth Periale

"In Timebends Miller writes about her poetically enough, but Marilyn, his conception of Marilyn, rarely comes across as a real person. She is still a muse to his words, almost thirty years after their break-up and her death. Perhaps that is all she really ever was to him."
Pauline  Butcher Bird
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
The trouble with autobiographies is that only part of most people's lives is interesting. So it is here. I wanted to read about Marilyn Monroe but we get only small parts out of two chapters. Miller glosses over the breakup of his first marriage and the formation of his relationship with the most famous sex-goddess of the 20th century. You have to piece together in your own mind how and why she married a dry, not particularly attractive man, or indeed why he took the major step to marry her. ...more
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Arthur Miller has a unique perspective on the twentieth century, because, well, he is Arthur Miller. He took McCarthyism by the balls. He singlehandedly congealed a major part of the consciousness about the twentieth century American anti-hero through the image of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. Oh, and he married Marilyn Monroe.

Miller's grasp on prose is not like his flawlessly balanced plays, but it has a genius of its own. Sprawling, informative, non-linear, almost like an old man telling
Rik Booraem
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A single word to describe this book might be "honest." Miller looks back over his life as celebrated playwright, New York leftist, serious artist looking for important material, but also married man looking for love and understanding, and tries to analyze why he made the decisions that he did, also why things turned out as they did despite his objections. We learn a lot that is intensely believable about Broadway, Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe, the climate of politics during and after World War II. ...more
Gordon Prescott
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Timebends by Arthur Miller is a long-winded autobiography that incoherently jumps back and forth. I struggled to get to the good stuff about his landmark plays Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, All my Sons, etc. The overwriting poetic language becomes tiresome after a hundred pages. I skipped over long passages that held little interest to me.
Timothy Dymond
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Arthur Miller is one of those writers whose massive output means you have read and seen more of his stuff than you think you have. E.g. I've seen productions of 'The Crucible', but I didn't realise that he wrote the first draft of what became 'On the Waterfront' (the final version was written by Bud Schulberg).

Miller has his artistic origins in the New York left-wing literati set that included Clifford Odets, Lillian Helman, Dashell Hammat and (for a little while) Elia Kazan. His relationship
Jennifer B.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me a long time to get through this, which wasn't a bad thing. What an interesting life Arthur Miller led, and not just because he happened to marry Marilyn Monroe. A true intellectual despite his humble roots, this man really knew everyone: actors, artists, musicians, directors, producers, photographers, politicians, veterans, and of course, other writers.

Miller doesn't just give you the story of his life, he gives you the story of the twentieth century. I felt I received quite the
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I felt in the company of a 'big man' reading this, i am a slow reader, as slow as I talk and with Millers style of writing I had to re-read many sentences and paragraphs, in my meticulous craftsmans manner I wanted to leave nothing out.

It was a privelige to hear of decades past and all the problems that went with it. I originally bought this book twenty years ago but only got to page one hundred, now being older it holds me far more, what seemed a strange play such as 'Salesman' now seems very
Feb 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great autobiography by one of the best playrights In American theater. If you like his works than you'll enjoy this.
T.P. Williams
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Wow - turgid, verbose, circumlocutory memoir from the great playwright. At 600 pages a real heavy lift to finish. Author seemingly incapable of writing a simple declarative sentence. Frequently interjects "I think" or, even more annoyingly, "I suppose" into long sentences. Why? A good editor could easily have shortened this book by 50-75 pages.
I do not find fault, as others have, with the apparent lack of a chronological timeline. It's Miller's memoir and he can write it his way. Best parts were
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This autobiography sketches tangents of his life such as the styling of cars, family drama, and how Harlem changed over time. He has lots of pictures of him with Marilyn Monroe, but not much to say about her.

His Jewish parents had an arranged marriage. Both families were from the garment industry. His father’s business was booming in the 1920s but went bankrupt in the Great Depression. Arthur notes that many male writers had fathers that were failures (Faulkner, Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Poe,
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this in high school.

The only thing I knew about Arthur Miller at the time was the he was the author of "The Crucible" and "Death of Salesman".

The part I remember the most was his description of writing "Death of A Salesman". His description was rather vivid.

But, like many books I read in high school, I now realize that I probably didn't understand 90% of the it because I was simply too young.

After all, he was 70 years old when this was published and he spends a lot of time describing the
Time bends. Yes it does. Warps, weaves, waves, wriggles. A very interesting book. Miller appears to be the suave, moderate, calm thinker throughout. It will be interesting to consider other perspectives. In particular, he seems to leave wives behind like many of us overtake slow-moving traffic. The more recent years are more skeletal than the distant past. All that aside, I did enjoy the book.
Barbara Rubin
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Timebends by Arthur Miller is a long-winded autobiography that incoherently jumps back and forth. I struggled to get to the good stuff about his landmark plays Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, All my Sons, etc. The overwriting poetic language becomes tiresome after a hundred pages. I skipped over long passages that held little interest to me.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed reading about this interesting man, who wrote The Crucible and Death of a Salesman. His insight into himself and others around him was entertaining. And I enjoyed seeing pieces of history from his point of view. It was worth my time.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book and interesting look at the world and politics of time Arthur Miller lived. Lots of great observations of the long-term effects of the black-listing of the 50's and the Vietnam war after that.
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting insight into a turbulent era, with no unwanted details of his sexual relationship with Monroe. Makes me want to be a playwright!
Tom Schulte
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this was published in 1989, it really ends in the late 60s with Miller's involvement with PEN and draws a curtain over his family life in Connecticut with photographer Inge Morath, who he married in February 1962. The meat of this autobiography is professional and artistic development from U of M and NYC dock workers before the plays: Death of a Salesman, The Crucible foreshadowing his haunting by HUAC and the growth of A View from one-act to full, successful play. Of course, much is given ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It took me four months to read this voluminous autobiography of one of the greatest literary figures of the world who spanned the entire 20th century, but the journey was worth every page. He was born in 1915 and died in 2005; so in a way it is also the history of 20th century America, starting from its pre-Depression era, the influx of European migrants to US in search of better livelihoods, the Great Depression of the 30s, waterfront unionism backed by the Mob, the rise of Fascism, coping with ...more
Joe Mossa
Sep 01, 2007 rated it liked it
i love reading of writers writing but he nevers tells us when or why he chose to become a writer. i loved marilyn monroe as a teen,my first love. i can t wait till he writes of her. he began to write of her on pg 308 with much more to come. the, waiting for marilyn part, is motivating me to read on through the deep thinking of arthur miller.
it was very slow in parts especially the part about his presidency of PEN,the international writers organization. it was fascinating to hear of the roots
Dec 30, 2007 rated it liked it
The experience of reading this book is kind of like sitting down and having someone tell you story after story of their life. My Dad used to do that. And it made me miss him. I learned quite a bit reading this book. Especially regarding Marxism and the 30's. How it came to be popular and the aftermath. Mr. Miller had so much pain in his life. Marilyn Monroe was a tragic lady. The book is 600 pages and the last 100 pages I found myself fidgety and wanting it all to end. The same thing would ...more
Ian Banks
May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mr Miller is not one of my favourite writers but this would have to be one of my favourite books: he is brilliant on life between the wars and how it affected people, especially when compounded by the Depression. He talks very little about writing but what he says is fascinating. The style he uses in retelling his life is great: he starts on one topic, digresses onto a related tangent then goes back to the original subject and quite often digresses to another tangent for an epilogue. Always ...more
Picked up a first edition tonight at the closing month sale at Skyline Books in NYC. Just this morning I read an article that quotes the book, for the hundredth time. It'll be a good reference to finally read this year. Wish the old fellow was still around to say interesting things.
Mar 15, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
did you know that arthur miller was once married to marilyn monroe? did you know that he was a prominent player in fighting of mcarthyism and was once good friends with elia kazan, only to have that friendship destroyed by kazan dragging miller's name in during a congressional hearing? pretty incredible life that explains the origins of his ethos.
Henry Wright
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A marvelous autobiography by an extraordinary artist. His account of his relationship with Marilyn grew tiresome. So much analysis when there must have been so much passion and so much pain. I felt he was avoiding the primal truth and had to push myself through to the end. Nonetheless, a giant among men.
Aug 21, 2008 rated it liked it
great insight into arthurs life. doesnt mention the abandoned child tho! and gets pretty heavy on usa politics. but if you love his plays, and want to know what its like to be married to marilynl, then read it
Dec 09, 2008 rated it liked it
While it was fascinating to read how Arthur Miller's mind works, I ended up being disappointed in him. He left out too much and passed over too much for the book to be satisfying. It was long and was hard work to read. I am glad I read it, but am a bit disappointed in it.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love it have a lot of fun reading reading is cool you should read more I do it all the time have a great day God

Have a great day God bless you and your family this is about to be a little more than 20 words
Joy H.
Added 12/24/12.

Recommended by Arnie of my GR group 12/24/12. Arnie wrote the following at my group: "I'm reading Arthur Miller's brilliant autobio, "Timebends"--- not only was he a great playwright, but this book reads like a superior novel."
Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
An excellent, but very long, read. What a life! It wasn't always easy for him and Marilyn Monroe wasn't the only interesting person in his life. I read this book for research in college and won't ever forget it. I highly recommend it.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves
  • There but for the
  • Beneath the Darkening Sky
  • The Understudy
  • The People of the Abyss
  • Fatherland
  • On the Suffering of the World
  • The Essential Schopenhauer
  • The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell
  • Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on B.S.
  • The Millstone
  • The Prime Minister (Palliser #5)
  • The Comfort of Strangers
  • Death in a Strange Country (Commissario Brunetti, #2)
  • Why I Write
  • The Marches: A Borderland Journey Between England and Scotland
  • The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal
  • The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal
See similar books…
Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American literature and cinema for over 61 years, writing a wide variety of plays, including celebrated plays such as The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, and Death of a Salesman, which are still studied and performed worldwide. Miller was often in the public eye, most famously for refusing to ...more