Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The only sure cure

In "Extraordinary Comebacks", we present the story of author Stephen King's recovery from a devastating accident. Work, he said, was the only remedy for pain -- it was much better than morphine.

Now, in a new book about the esteemed author Saul Bellow, he seconds that emotion. NPR reviewed the new book of his letters.


The only sure cure, he writes in 1960 from his house in Tivoli, New York, to young San Francisco writer Alice Adams, the only sure cure for everything that ails you is to write a book. I have a new one on the table, Bellow says, and all the other misery is gone.

His devotion to his work is instructive for all writers, especially the young. The years go by, letters flow. Admiration and awards and sales replace adversity, and one marriage yields to another, but the wit sparks up all the same, even as Bellow shifts from aesthetic critiques of books by friends into writing their eulogies - eulogies for Bernard Malamud, Robert Penn Warren, Ralph Ellison among them.

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