Googled: David Plante ’61, memoirist

Published: March 2005

In January 2005, David Plante ’61, the author of 14 novels and a professor of creative writing at Columbia University, published American Ghosts: A Memoir (Beacon Press), which recounts his upbringing in Providence, Rhode Island, one of seven sons of immigrant French-Canadian parents, his escape to Boston College, and his further flight to Europe, where he finds personal freedom and his life’s work as a writer. The New York Times praised the book as “a self-scouring undertaken with resolute frankness and considerable stylistic grace,” while the Boston Globe reviewer writes: “This wonderful book takes on what may be the hardest questions by allowing this most observant individual to see and hear in miraculous detail. How, it asks, does any person become American, let alone find a place in the breathing cathedral that is this majestic universe?”

Plante’s novels include the highly acclaimed Francoeur trilogy—The Family (1978), The Country (1981), and The Woods (1982)—and the nonfiction Difficult Women (1983), an account of his relationships with Jean Rhys, Sonia Orwell, and Germaine Greer. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Paris Review and has been nominated for a National Book Award. Plante lives in New York and London.

This feature was posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 and is filed under Alumni.
Writer: Jeanne C. Williams