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Barry Gifford

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In Writers, great American storyteller Barry Gifford paints portraits of famous writers caught in imaginary vulnerable moments in their lives. In prose that is funny, grotesque, and a touch brutal, Gifford shows these writers at their most human, which is to say at their worst: they are liars, frauds, lousy lovers, and drunks.

This is a world in which Ernest Hemingway drunkenly sets explosive trip wires outside his home in Cuba, Marcel Proust implores the angel of death as a delirious Arthur Rimbaud lies dying in a hospital bed, and Albert Camus converses with a young prostitute while staring at himself in the mirror of a New York City hotel room.

In Gifford's house of mirrors, we are offered a unique perspective on this group of literary greats. These stories, meant to be performed as plays, are tender and thoughtful exercises in empathy. Obsessions loom large, especially a preoccupation with death. Gifford asks: What does it mean to devote oneself entirely to art? And as an artist, what defines failure, or success?

This new edition of 
Writers includes five new pieces, featuring Georges Simenon with André Gide, Franz Kafka with Marcel Proust, Flannery O’Connor with William Burroughs, Ivan Turgenev with Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Joseph Conrad with D.H. Lawrence, and Willa Cather with Gypsy Rose Lee.

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