The More I Owe You
By Michael Sledge
(Counterpoint, Paperback, 9781582435763, 320pp.)
Publication Date: May 2010
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In this mesmerizing debut novel, Michael Sledge creates an intimate portrait of the beloved poet Elizabeth Bishop of her life in Brazil and her relationship with her lover, the dazzling, aristocratic Lota de Macedo Soares. Sledge artfully draws from Bishop’s lifelong correspondences and biography to imagine the poet’s intensely private world, revealing the literary genius who lived in conflict with herself both as a writer and as a woman.
A seemingly idyllic existence in Soares’s glass house in the jungle gives way to the truth of Bishop’s lifelong battle with alcoholism, as well as her eventual status as one of modernism’s most prominent writers. Though connected to many of the most famous cultural and political figures of the era, Soares too is haunted by her own demons. As their secrets unfold, the sensuous landscape of Rio de Janeiro, the rhythms of the samba and the bossa nova, and the political turmoil of 1950s Brazil envelop Bishop in a world she never expected to inhabit. The More I Owe You is a vivid portrait of two brilliant women whose love for one another pushes them to accomplish enduring works of art.
Praise for The More I Owe You
A moving novel of an illicit and impassioned relationship.” Kirkus
Sledge’s cinematic novel is as lush and fecund as the jungle itself, with its innumerable fruits, ferns, and hidden dangers, leaving readers with the indelible image of a brilliant, tormented woman writing tirelessly through the tropic night by the light of a kerosene lamp . . . Strong and intoxicating.” Booklist
"A novel of extraordinary beauty, intimacy, and such consummate tenderness for its complex Elizabeth that one wonders how Sledge managed to slide so close to her soul. A gorgeous meditation on enduring love, damage, and what it can be to be happy, for however brief a moment. Bravo, bravo, bravo." Stacey D'Erasmo, author of The Sky Below
"A beautiful dream of a book. Sumptuously detailed, deeply felt, it is as if Sledge slipped back in time and walked every step with Elizabeth Bishop, breathed every breath with her." Alison Smith, author of Name All the Animals
Praise for Mother and Son
"[A] sensitive account." Publishers Weekly
"This book manages to be intimate and completely honest without being sentimental or self-indulgent. One of the finest examples of memoir I've ever read." Chad LeJeune, author of The Worry Trap
"Such affecting prose stays with us long after book's end." The San Francisco Chronicle
"Michael Sledge has created unforgettable scenes . . . he has been honest enough to allow us to see how a tiny aberration can spin a life into patterns no one dreamed of." The New York Times Book Review
"A courageous endeavor." San Francisco Focus Magazine