Memoirs of a Bastard Angel

Harold Norse, Author, James A. Baldwin, Photographer William Morrow & Company $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06704-5
Norse ( Beat Hotels ) immerses the reader in bohemian and gay subcultures in this freewheeling, name-dropping autobiography. In the early, slightly acrimonious chapters, W. H. Auden steals his lover, Chester Kallman, who became Auden's lifelong companion. Norse dispenses an abundance of stories: he read James Baldwin's first novel in an early draft; he shared a cabin with Tennessee Williams in Massachusetts; William Carlos Williams was a mentor of sorts; Jackson Pollock and Dylan Thomas were his drinking buddies. He spent time in Paris with William Burroughs; lived in Rome; practiced Buddhist meditation in Spain; made the Venice, Calif., ``scene'' in the late 1960s. Among the friends and acquaintances here are Anais Nin, Ezra Pound, Charles Bukowski, Paul Bowles and John Cage. Yet some of this memoir's most powerful scenes occur far from the glitter, as when Norse recounts his squalid Brooklyn childhood or describes how, while working in a WW II shipyard, he witnessed a black man beaten to death. Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-1-56025-385-3
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-7475-0601-0
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