All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost
by Lan Samantha CHANG
ABOUT THE BOOK
A haunting story of art, ambition, love, and friendship by a writer of elegant, exacting prose. At the renowned writing school in Bonneville, every student is simultaneously terrified of and attracted to the charismatic and mysterious poet and professor Miranda Sturgis, whose high standards for art are both intimidating and inspiring. As two students, Roman and Bernard, strive to win her admiration, the lines between mentorship, friendship, and love are blurred.
Roman’s star rises early, and his first book wins a prestigious prize. Meanwhile, Bernard labors for years over a single poem. Secrets of the past begin to surface, friendships are broken, and Miranda continues to cast a shadow over their lives. What is the hidden burden of early promise? What are the personal costs of a life devoted to the pursuit of art? All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost is a brilliant evocation of the demands of ambition and vocation, personal loyalty and poetic truth. [Product description]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lan Samantha Chang‘s fiction has appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Story and The Best American Short Stories 1994 and 1996. Chang is the author of the award-winning books Hunger and Inheritance, and the novel All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. She is the recipient of the Wallace Stegner and Truman Capote fellowships at Stanford University. She also received, from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a Teaching-Writing fellowship and a Michener-Copernicus fellowship. Her many awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she directs the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
REVIEWS BY OTHERS
Chang is director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and here she weds her professional knowledge of writing-seminar dynamics to her lucent style, producing a stunning novel that more than fulfills the promise of her early work (Hunger, 1998; Inheritance, 2004). Miranda Sturgis is an exceptional poet, and though her critiques can be ruthless, graduate students at the renowned writing school where she teaches fight to gain admission to her seminars. She proves to be a tantalizing and enigmatic figure to her students, especially Bernard Blithe, one of the most serious poets in the class, and Roman Morris, who fairly burns with ambition. Chang shows the two men, one who regards poetry as an avocation, the other as a means to an end, to be essentially similar in one devastating way: their intense loneliness, which comes from sacrificing all personal relationships for the sake of work. Among the many threads Chang elegantly pursues—the fraught relationships between mentors and students, the value of poetry, the price of ambition—it is her indelible portrait of the loneliness of artistic endeavor that will haunt readers the most in this exquisitely written novel about the poet’s lot. [Booklist]
The first woman and first Asian American to be director of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Chang writes from personal history. Her characters are three-dimensional and not predictable, and with her simple, elegant style she achieves a clarity that few writers accomplish…. Chang is an author worth reading now—and watching in the future. (Library Journal)
MY OWN THOUGHTS
This book is so hauntingly beautiful! The intensity of the prose reads like poetry – see the little excerpt here below, a line I kept reading and rereading. The characters are very real, their feelings and emotion so aptly described and evoked. I felt drawn by these people all along, and read this book in one sitting. This is the sort of book after which the characters remain in you, you seem to know them like other acquaintances. How fascinating would it be to have such a writer leading your writer workshop!
“He would not take comfort in the banality of the present,
but would instead continue striving,
with all of the energy and confidence he could muster,
for the as yet unseen magnificence of the future.” p. 26
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