TRAVELS WITH MY ROYAL: A Memoir of the Writing Life

Robert Laxalt, Author, Cheryll Glotfelty, Foreword by . Univ. of Nevada $21.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-87417-485-4

After 17 books and 20 years of National Geographic reportage, Laxalt lets readers peek behind the curtain at the man and his writing process. Divided into three parts—"Growing Up," "Writing Days" and "Selected Books and How They Came To Be"—Laxalt's anecdotal memoir describes the forces that shaped him personally and professionally, from his boyhood in Carson City, Nev., through his years as a globe-trotting journalist. In terse yet resonant prose, reminiscent of his previous works, he details how, as a United Press correspondent, he covered executions and interviewed gangsters. As a journalist for National Geographic, he traveled extensively, exploring the life of the gauchos in Argentina and traversing the spine of the Pyrenees. Equally compelling are poignant stories of his beloved Nevada and his Basque-immigrant family: his father was a sheepherder; his mother owned a hotel. In the final section he writes, "the creative process is largely unexplainable," but then deftly examines the nuts and bolts of some of his most important works, including Sweet Promised Land, still in print after 40 years. Readers are privy to the intersections between his outward life and his imagination, where plots and characters were born, and to the answers to the questions that each of his stories poses. For readers unfamiliar with Laxalt, this is a great introduction—after putting it down, one wants to pick up his previous writings, both fiction and non. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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