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The Novel
Cover of The Novel
The Novel
A Novel
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In this riveting, ambitious novel from James A. Michener, the renowned chronicler of epic history turns his extraordinary imagination to a world he knew better than anyone: the world of books. Lukas Yoder, a novelist who has enjoyed a long, successful career, has finished what he believes to be his final work. Then a tragedy strikes in his community, and he becomes obsessed with writing about it. Meanwhile, Yoder’s editor fights to preserve her integrity—and her author—as her firm becomes the target of a corporate takeover; a local critic who teaches literature struggles with his ambitions and with his feelings about Yoder’s success; and a devoted reader holds the key to solving the mystery that haunts Yoder’s hometown.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from James A. Michener's Hawaii.
 
Praise for The Novel
 
“Michener explores some of the deepest issues raised by narrative literature.”The New York Times
 
“A good, old-fashioned, sink-your-teeth-into-it story . . . The Novel lets us see an unfamiliar side of the author, at the same time portraying the delicate, complex relationship among editors, agents and writers.”The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Michener loves literature, and his information about some of his favorite reading is almost as alluring as his explanation of how to handle a manuscript.”—Associated Press
 
“So absorbing you simply will not want [it] to end.”—Charleston News & Courier
In this riveting, ambitious novel from James A. Michener, the renowned chronicler of epic history turns his extraordinary imagination to a world he knew better than anyone: the world of books. Lukas Yoder, a novelist who has enjoyed a long, successful career, has finished what he believes to be his final work. Then a tragedy strikes in his community, and he becomes obsessed with writing about it. Meanwhile, Yoder’s editor fights to preserve her integrity—and her author—as her firm becomes the target of a corporate takeover; a local critic who teaches literature struggles with his ambitions and with his feelings about Yoder’s success; and a devoted reader holds the key to solving the mystery that haunts Yoder’s hometown.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from James A. Michener's Hawaii.
 
Praise for The Novel
 
“Michener explores some of the deepest issues raised by narrative literature.”The New York Times
 
“A good, old-fashioned, sink-your-teeth-into-it story . . . The Novel lets us see an unfamiliar side of the author, at the same time portraying the delicate, complex relationship among editors, agents and writers.”The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Michener loves literature, and his information about some of his favorite reading is almost as alluring as his explanation of how to handle a manuscript.”—Associated Press
 
“So absorbing you simply will not want [it] to end.”—Charleston News & Courier
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Excerpts-
  • From the book This Tuesday morning, 3 October 1990, at half after ten, I typed the last sentence of the novel that will complete what the critics have taken to calling “The Grenzler Octet,” as if I had planned from the beginning to write eight interrelated books on the same theme. No, that came about by accident.
     
    In 1967, when I was forty-four, I imagined a compact little enclave in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, sixteen miles east to west, ten and a half north to south, tucked in between the three well-known German cities of Allentown, on the north, Reading, on the west, and Lancaster, on the south. It was such a well-defined area and so filled with fascinating rural people who adhered to ancient German ways and speech that, after defining it rather solidly in my first novel, I made use of it in the works that followed. I gave it a made-up regional name, Grenzler, and visualized myself as living within its boundaries, so that by the time I started this book, which I’m calling Stone Walls to evoke the obdurate nature of my beloved Dutchmen and their relationship to their land, I could imagine writing about no other part of the world, or of the United States or even Pennsylvania. As so often happens with writers, my imaginary terrain had become more real to me than the physical one that surrounded me.
     
    Patting the completed manuscript as if to give it my final approval, I left my study, came downstairs to the kitchen, and shouted the great news: “Emma! It’s finished! Now we can start living again.”
     
    My wife could not quite echo my enthusiasm, for she remembered the drudgery that had been required to polish my seven previous novels: “I know what lies ahead. It’s October 1990. We’ll have a year of clean-up work—suggestions from New York, revisions, then proofreading—maybe a printed book this time next year. October 1991.”
     
    But she did not wish to dampen my triumph, so with a bright smile she pointed to her oven, from which came one of those unequaled smells that make a Pennsylvania Dutch kitchen a hallowed place. It could have come from the making of apple butter, or the concocting of rich mincemeat or the baking of a pumpkin pie with nutmeg; this particular one was in my opinion the best of all: the tantalizing smell of rice pudding baked in the traditional Dutch way.
     
    Opening the front door of her oven and using heavy woolen mittens, Emma drew out a handsome German cooking bowl of heavy brown ware, fourteen inches across and six inches high, flared at the top, so the sides were not perpendicular. In it she had prepared one of the glories of Dutch cooking, golden brown on top, speckled with raisins beneath the crustlike surface.
     
    An Emma Yoder rice pudding was not one of those characterless affairs made with rice already boiled and a milky-thin custard with no raisins but maybe a little bit of cinnamon on top. For her no boiling but baking only, and that took time, plus careful attention as the pudding neared completion. That was why the container in which she baked it had to be much deeper than one might have expected, for after the hard grains of rice had cooked slowly for several hours until soft, and the raisins had been thrown in, and then the cinnamon, real cooking began, and at ten- or fifteen-minute intervals a beautiful brown crust would cover the top, the color coming from caramelized sugar in the mix. Then, with a long-handled spoon she would stir the forming crust back into the pudding, so that in time this tasty amber richness was mixed visibly throughout the entire pudding.
     
    The art of making a true German...
About the Author-
  • James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.
Reviews-
  • Charleston News & Courier

    "Michener explores some of the deepest issues raised by narrative literature."--The New York Times "A good, old-fashioned, sink-your-teeth-into-it story . . . The Novel lets us see an unfamiliar side of the author, at the same time portraying the delicate, complex relationship among editors, agents and writers."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "Michener loves literature, and his information about some of his favorite reading is almost as alluring as his explanation of how to handle a manuscript."--Associated Press "So absorbing you simply will not want [it] to end."

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    Random House Publishing Group
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