Familiar Spirits: A Memoir of James Merrill and David Jackson

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Viking, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 181 pages
11 Reviews
"James Merrill and his longtime partner David Jackson were brilliant, rich, charming, generous, and sophisticated, and Merrill was a world-famous poet, known for the autobiographical element in his work. They were also, for over a quarter-century, deeply involved with ghosts, gods, and spirits, with whom they communicated through a Ouija board. Among the results of this intense preoccupation with the occult were a book-length poem, which some critics have called a masterpiece, and the possible destruction of several lives." "The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alison Lurie knew James Merrill and David Jackson for more than forty years. Now, in Familiar Spirits, she reveals both the worldly and otherworldly sources of Merrill's brilliant poem, The Changing Light at Sandover, which he called his "chronicles of love and loss." In her signature mix of comedy and analysis, she recalls Merrill and Jackson's life together in New York, Athens, and Key West, and speculates on the meaning of their adventures in both the real and unreal worlds. Her account of Merrill and Jackson's peculiar relationship with the supernatural and its tragic end will not only surprise many readers, it will also stand as a poignant memorial to her lost friends."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Review: Familiar Spirits: A Memoir of James Merrill and David Jackson

User Review  - John - Goodreads

I had never heard of poet James Merrill until a friend recommended the book for the paranormal aspect. I ended up not really digging that angle, as much as the story of his and David Jackson's relationship, as seen from beginning to end by the author, a straight female friend. Read full review

Review: Familiar Spirits: A Memoir of James Merrill and David Jackson

User Review  - Leftjab - Goodreads

Engrossing memoir, though I was probably looking for a more straight forward biography of Merrill. Fast-paced and never less than interesting, could have been twice as long. Ends with a series of ... Read full review

Contents

Foreword
1
Beginnings
5
Journeys
26
Copyright

12 other sections not shown

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About the author (2001)

Alison Lurie is the author of many highly praised novels, including The War Between the Tates, The Truth About Lorin Jones (Prix Femina Etranger), and Foreign Affairs (Pulitzer Prize for fiction). Her most recent book was Familiar Spirits. She teaches writing, folklore, and literature at Cornell University.

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