In Rooms of Memory


In Rooms of Memory


Hilary Masters

American Lives Series

264 pages


May 2012


$14.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

This mature, exquisite collection of personal essays by Hilary Masters offers a rare pleasure. Here are meditations and reflections distilled in fine prose from a long and varied life—musings that, in the distinguished tradition of essays carried on since the days of Montaigne, articulate the piquant insights of the writer’s experience. In this collection, one of the most illustrious contemporary essayists transfigures incidents and observations into something far more—a finely crafted window into the workings of experience and memory.   
Masters makes readers privy to a youthful love affair; an adolescent’s discovery in Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe of the key to an immigrant grandfather’s plight; and the significance of growing trees, making gravy, and playing cards. He draws intimate portraits of such characters as his famous father, Edgar Lee Masters; his literary friends Wright Morris and William Humphrey; and the strangers who both complicated and enriched his life. In glimpses of moments from naive youth through heady young adulthood to aging maturity, these essays tell the story of a life deeply, broadly, and thoroughly lived.

Author Bio

Hilary Masters (1928–2015) published novels, short fiction, and nonfiction and his work has been cited in Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, and Pushcart Prize anthologies. In 2003 the American Academy of Arts and Letters gave his work its award for literature. He is the author of the novel Elegy for Sam Emerson and the book-length essay, Shadows on a Wall: Juan O’Gorman and the Mural in Patzcuaro. Best known for his memoir, Last Stands: Notes from Memory, Masters is also the author of How the Indians Buried Their Dead, a collection of short stories.


“Because of his age, broad experience, travels, open-hearted curiosity, and knowledge, Hilary Masters’s book In Rooms of Memory has the kind of reflective depth that few such collections possess. It is gorgeously written and organized, a book of connections—between self and other, past and present, art and life.”—Floyd Skloot, author of In the Shadow of Memory

“Hilary Masters offers humor, insight, anecdote, food-appreciation and more—all while demonstrating the ability to zig (or zag) when others around him would forge straight ahead. . . . In exploring the past as it lives in the present, Masters proves a companionable and erudite guide.”—Pittsburgh City Weekly

“[Masters’s] prose seems effortless. . . . This collection is worth reading for those who have not encountered Masters before. It will especially appeal to readers interested in the crafting of essays.”—Library Journal

Table of Contents

Going to Cuba
In My Orchard
Making It Up
In Rooms of Memory
My Father's Image
In Montaigne's Tower
Double Exposure
Silence, Please
Disorderly Conduct
In the Cards
A Day in Burgundy
Passing through Pittsburgh
Three Places in Ohio
Montaigne's Bordeaux
Loitering on the Loire
Proud Flesh
The End of Something

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