A Long and Happy Life

(Fiction; Atheneum, 1962)


There are few literary writers as prolific as Reynolds Price, who has published thirty-seven books—novels, including the National Book Critics’ Circle Award–winning Kate Vaiden, and collections of short stories, essays, plays, and poems, as well as memoirs, a few books of biblical exegesis, and, most recently, an epistle to a young friend about faith. The enormous range and erudition of his body of work has finally convinced critics to allow him to escape the presumed shadow of the writers of the American South who came before; no longer do people speculate that Price, who was born and raised in rural North Carolina and who has lived in the same house in Durham for over forty years, owes his style to Faulkner or to Thomas Wolfe or to any other regional literary giant. In fact, on the page he was schooled by Thomas Hardy and John Milton, and in life his truest mentor was Eudora Welty.

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