ISBN: 9798985312409 (Print)
$14.99 (Print); $9.99 (eBook)
About the Author
LYNNE KAUFMAN is the author of three novels (Slow Hands, Wild Women’s Weekend, and Taking Flight). Her short stories have been published in McCall’s, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan. An accomplished playwright whose award-winning works have been produced across the country, Ms. Kaufman has degrees from Hunter College and Columbia University and now teaches writing at the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State University. She is married with two adult children.
“Cal . . . wants to move back in with me into our old apartment on 67th Street across from Central Park. It’s where we lived for most of the twenty-one years of our marriage until he left me for Caroline. It’s where I’ve lived for the past seven years without Cal.” Cal is purportedly Robert Lowell, the sixth Poet Laureate of the United States, and the speaker, “Lizzie,” is Elizabeth Hardwick, a writer and critic whose true-life partnership with Lowell was marked by his mental illness and desertion. Yet award-winning playwright Lynne Kaufman’s spare, poetic novel is far deeper—and more disturbing—than a harrowing account of a famously unhappy marriage. As the fictional “manuscript” progresses, Lizzie’s persona of humiliated, martyred wife gradually dissolves into a rich labyrinth of references—from her friendships with Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt to her memories of the Civil Rights movement and her Southern childhood, from the Holocaust to King Lear—that may (or may not) illuminate the complex dynamics of attachment. In this enigmatic deconstruction of an age-old tragedy, Kaufman has composed an intriguing and intense elegy that marks the shadowlands where fiction, reality, and writerly personas converge.
"Advance Acclaim for Divine Madness
“ . . . [I]ntimate and urgent. Read it in one sitting, and immerse yourself in the intense glow of Kaufman’s imagination.”
—Jane Ciabattari, author of Stealing the Fire and past president of the National Book Critics Circle
“Perfectly capturing the rarefied environment of Manhattan’s mid-20th century literati, Kaufman shows herself every bit their match in this compelling novel about the joys and perils of the creative soul.”
—Joan Steinau Lester, author of Loving Before Loving: A Marriage in Black and White
“An innovative novel that dares to explore the double-sided gift of the gods that we call creativity, allowing us uncommon access into the minds of two geniuses. This is a story for the ages.”
—Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage and The Lost Notebooks of Sisyphus
“A wondrous testament to the power of words to woo and to wound. A splendid and beguiling accomplishment.”
—Robert Walter, president of the Joseph Campbell Foundation
"Lynne Kaufman’s riveting diary of Elizabeth Hardwick imagines this 'rambunctious intellectual' confronting the paradox of seduction and betrayal. Kaufman’s Hardwick writes the unsayable to approach the unspeakable."
—Carolyn Cooke, author of The Bostons and Daughters of the Revolution
"An enthralling book, compulsively readable, an emotional roller coaster of passion, betrayal, dark humor and ultimate tragedy."
--Mary-Rose Hayes, author of Amethyst
"What an extraordinarily moving book! I was so taken by the story and cared so much for the narrator that it was only later, reflecting on what I'd read, did I see the many levels of creativity and struggle interwoven through this remarkable narrative of two complex, talented, and troubled lives."
--James Fadiman, author of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide and Your Symphony of Selves
"Lynne Kaufman has turned her playwriting skills to a domestic drama in turn excruciatingly intimate and provocatively thoughtful! Her decision to deliver this novel in short scenic bursts allows the affected reader--and what reader won't be?--to take a restorative deep breath before being compelled to read on, and on, and on."
--Alison Owings, author of Indian Voices/Listening to Native Americans
"Lynne Kaufman's outstanding new novel transports you into a world you can't afford to miss."
--Paul Ekman, co-author with the Dalai Lama of Emotional Awareness