When he sold his first short story to "The New Yorker" in 1979, Alan Cheuse was hardly new to the literary world. He had studied at Rutgers under John Ciardi, worked at the Breadloaf Writing Workshops with Robert Frost and Ralph Ellison, written hundreds of reviews for "Kirkus Reviews", and taught alongside John Gardner and Bernard Malamud at Bennington College for nearly a decade. Soon after the "New Yorker" story appeared, Cheuse wrote a freelance magazine piece about a new, publicly funded broadcast network called National Public Radio, and a relationship of reviewer and radio was born. In "Listening to the Page", Alan Cheuse takes a look back at some of the thousands of books he has read, reviewed, and loved, offering retrospective pieces on modern American literary figures such as Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, Bernard Malamud, and John Steinbeck, as well as contemporary writers like Elizabeth Tallent and Vassily Aksyonov. Other essays explore landscape in "All the Pretty Horses", the career of James Agee, Mario Vargas Llosa and naturalism, and the life and work of Robert Penn Warren.
Alan Cheuse is a fiction writer, a long-time critic, and the book commentator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. He is the author of eight books including The Grandmothers'Club, The Light Possessed, The Tennessee Waltz and Other Stories, and the memoir Fall Out of Heaven. He has written for many national publications and has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan, among other places. He currently serves as a member of the writing program at George Mason University.
Introduction: Getting Started; or, Two Thousand Books Part 1. Reading 1. Writing It Down for James: Some Thoughts on Reading Toward the Millennium 2. Books in Flames: A View of Latin American Literature 3. The Lost Books 4. Hamlet in Haiti: Style in Carpentier's The Kingdom of This World 5. Traces of Light: The Paradoxes of Narrative Painting and Pictorial Fiction 6. Truth as Fiction: Or, the Tail of the Monstrous Peacock 7. The Consolation of Art Part 2. Rereading 8. You Can Read Wolfe Again 9. Stories of Deep Delight 10. Of Steinbeck and Salinas 11. The Return of James Agee 12. Mario Vargas Llosa and Conversation in the Cathedral: The Question of Naturalism 13. Where Is She Going? Where Has She Been?: Elizabeth Tallent's "No One's a Mystery" and the Poetry of Female Initiation 14. A Wintry Saga 15. Bernard and Juliet: Romance and Desire in Malamud's High Art 16. Fitzgerald's Christmas Carol, or the Burden of "The Camel's Back" 17. A Note on Landscape in All the Pretty Horses 18. Rereading Traven Part 3. Writing 19. Confessions of an Ex-Minimalist 20. On the Contemporary 21. Of the Making of Books 22. Voices: A Conversation