Evan S. Connell

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Evan S. Connell
BornEvan Shelby Connell, Jr.
(1924-08-17)August 17, 1924
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died10 January 2013(2013-01-10) (aged 88)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
OccupationWriter
NationalityAmerican
Period1957-2013
GenresFiction, Nonfiction
SubjectsGeorge Armstrong Custer
Notable work(s)Mrs. Bridge, Mr. Bridge, Son of the Morning Star
 
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Evan S. Connell
BornEvan Shelby Connell, Jr.
(1924-08-17)August 17, 1924
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died10 January 2013(2013-01-10) (aged 88)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
OccupationWriter
NationalityAmerican
Period1957-2013
GenresFiction, Nonfiction
SubjectsGeorge Armstrong Custer
Notable work(s)Mrs. Bridge, Mr. Bridge, Son of the Morning Star

Evan Shelby Connell, Jr. (August 17, 1924 – January 10, 2013) was an American novelist, poet, and short story-writer. He also published under the name Evan S. Connell, Jr. His writing covered a variety of genres, although he has published most frequently in fiction.

In 2009, Connell was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize, for lifetime achievement.[1] On April 23, 2010, he was awarded a Los Angeles Times Book Prize: the Robert Kirsch Award, for "a living author with a substantial connection to the American West, whose contribution to American letters deserves special recognition." [2]

Contents

Background

Connell was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the only son of Evan S. Connell, Sr. (1890–1974), a physician, and Ruth Elton Connell. He had a sister Barbara (Mrs. Matthew Zimmermann) to whom he dedicated his novel Mrs. Bridge (1959). He graduated from Southwest High School in Kansas City in 1941. He started undergraduate work at Dartmouth College but joined the Navy in 1943 and became a pilot. After the end of World War II he graduated from the University of Kansas in 1947, with a B.A. in English. He studied creative writing at Columbia University in New York and Stanford University in California.[3] He never married, and lived and worked in San Francisco for decades.

Connell was found dead on January 10, 2013 at an assisted-living facility in Santa Fe, New Mexico.[4]

Career

Connell's novels Mrs. Bridge (1959) and Mr. Bridge (1969) are bittersweet, gently satirical portraits of a conventional, unimaginative upper middle-class couple living in Kansas City from the 1920s to the 1940s. The couple tries to live up to societal expectations and to be good parents, but are sadly incapable of bridging the emotional distance between themselves and their children, and between each other.[citation needed]

The pair of novels was adapted as a 1990 Merchant-Ivory motion picture, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Critics gave the film mixed reviews. Hal Hinson wrote in The Washington Post that "the film comes with a built-in problem. Its subject is emotional repression, and the challenge is to make a film about a soul-deep conservatism that doesn't itself suffer from the excess caution and lack of dynamism that its characters do. However, it's not a challenge that is met."[5]

Connell's 1960 novel, The Patriot, is the story of Melvin Isaacs, aged 17, and his experiences in naval aviation school during the Second World War. Melvin faces the terrifying reality of training and the likelihood of his "washing out" (failing). Melvin's attempts to communicate the realities of his experience to his father are rebuffed. The characters of Melvin and his father Jacob are similar in many respects to those of Douglas and Mr. Bridge.[citation needed]

Connell's 1984 biography of Custer, Son of the Morning Star, earned critical acclaim, was a bestseller, and was adapted as a television film/miniseries in 1991. The film won four Emmy Awards.

Dorothy Parker described Connell as "a writer of fine style and amazing variety".[1]

Legacy and honors

References

  1. ^ Carlson, Michael (January 14, 2013). "Evan S Connell obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, home page
  3. ^ Lawrence M. Bensky, "Meet Evan Connell, Friend of Mr. and Mrs. Bridge", The New York Times, 20 April 1969; retrieved on 8 June 2009
  4. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/arts/evan-connell-88-novelist-in-multiple-genres.html?hpw
  5. ^ Hinson, Hal (February 1, 1991). "'Mr. and Mrs. Bridge' (PG-13)". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 February 2009. 

Bibliography

External links