The proof in the pudding

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”– John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck’s comment (discovered above, after three days of writing about the Steinbeck auction) adds another slant on last week’s New York Times review of Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut, a thriller about marriage.  Bestselling author and practicing lawyer Scott Turow writes an insightful review of what sounds like a haunting book.  The review is here.  An excerpt with a local twist:

Nearly 40 years ago I was a fellow at the Creative Writing Center at Stanford. The director, Richard P. Scowcroft, who had helped his revered friend Wallace Stegner establish the program, told those of us in the advanced fiction seminar that the one subject he had always feared writing a novel about was marriage, because it still seemed to him the most complex and frequently unfathomable of human relationships, notwithstanding his own long and successful marriage.


Turow doesn’t mention that he endowed the Richard Scowcroft Fellowship in Creative Writing.  He has said that not only was Scowcroft, who died in 2001, “a distinguished professor of English and a fine scholar, but his works, such as Back to Fire Mountain, have been undervalued. Above all, his gifts as a teacher of creative writing are beyond dispute. He knew exactly when to bring you yet closer to being a good writer.”

Turow would seem to be proof.

By the by, Turow works most of his cases pro bono (including a case 15 years ago where he won freedom for Alejandro Hernandez, who spent over a decade on death row for a murder he did not commit).

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