Portrait of an Artist, As an Old Man

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Imagine that the novelist -- his name here is Eugene Pota -- realizes that the days are dwindling and he needs to come up with one more novel. But what should he write? That first novel, the one that launched him, the one that made him into the cultural icon he seems fated to remain, has become a touchstone for his life, and his life since has pretty much been a critical failure. And now, when he is faced with the compulsion to write one more novel, to take a stab at the even bigger one, what should it be?
Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man follows the journey that Eugene Pota undertakes as he sifts through the detritus of his life in an effort to settle on a subject for his final work. He talks to everyone, including his wife, his old lovers, and his editor. While everyone has ideas, no one offers any real answers. Written with sections that alternate between Pota's real-life efforts to settle on what novel to write and his many and various false starts writing that novel, Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man is a rare and enthralling look into the artist's search for creativity.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743202015 | 
  • July 2001
List Price $15.00
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Tom

"Tom."

No answer.

"Tom."

Still no answer.

"Oh, shit," said Aunt Polly. "Where in the world can that boy be this time, I wonder?"

That boy, Tom Sawyer, was lounging in an armchair up front in the parlor in his new Armani cashmere sport jacket, complacently calculating the overnight appreciation of his stock and bond holdings as he waited for four of his friends to come by in the leased stretch limousine with insolent smoked windows to take them all to the luxury box in the stadium for the big game -- football or basketball, he had forgotten which, perhaps a prizefight. It did not matter to... see more

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