Fall of Frost
By Brian Hall
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670018666, 352pp.)
Publication Date: March 27, 2008
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A fascinating and exquisitely written novel about the art and life of Robert Frost
In his most recent novel, I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, Brian Hall won acclaim for the way he used the intimate, revelatory voice of fiction to capture the half- hidden personal stories of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In his new novel Hall turns to the life of Robert Frost, arguably America's most well-known poet. Frost, as both man and artist, was toughened by a hard life. His own father died when Frost was eleven; his only sibling, a sister, had to be institutionalized; of his five children, one died before the age of four, one committed suicide, one went insane, and one died in childbirth.
Told in short chapters, each of which presents an emblematic incident with intensity and immediacy, Hall's novel deftly weaves together the earlier parts of Frost's life with his final year, 1962, when, at age eighty- eight, and under the looming threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he made a visit to Russia and met with Khrushchev.
As Hall shows, Frost determined early on that he would not succumb to the tragedies life threw at him. The deaths of his children were forms of his own death from which he resurrected himself through poetry--for him, the preeminent symbol of man's form-giving power.
A searing, exquisitely constructed portrait of one man's rages, guilt, paranoia, and sheer, defiant persistence, as well as an exploration of why good people suffer unjustly and how art is born from that unanswerable question, Fall of Frost is a magnificent work that further confirms Hall's status as one of the most talented novelists at work today.