Winner, 2022 Society of Midland Authors award for Biography/Memoir
Evan S. Connell (1924–2013) emerged from the American Midwest determined to become a writer. He eventually made his mark with attention-getting fiction and deep explorations into history. His linked novels Mrs. Bridge (1959) and Mr. Bridge (1969) paint a devastating portrait of the lives of a prosperous suburban family not unlike his own that, more than a half century later, continue to haunt readers with their minimalist elegance and muted satire. As an essayist and historian, Connell produced a wide range of work, including a sumptuous body of travel writing, a bestselling epic account of Custer at the Little Bighorn, and a singular series of meditations on history and the human tragedy.
This first portrait and appraisal of an under-recognized American writer is based on personal accounts by friends, relatives, writers, and others who knew him; extensive correspondence in library archives; and insightful literary and cultural analysis of Connell’s work and its context. It also illuminates aspects of American publishing, Hollywood, male anxieties, and the power of place.