News

May 8, 2012

An evening with E.L. Doctorow

More articles by »
Written by: admin
E

Photo by Francesca Magnani

A

s the author hobbled on stage with his cane, he called out to the audience, “How many hip replacements are here tonight?” to which audience members, primarily made up of older Queens residents, responded with robust laughter.

They could relate.

Even more so, it is this ability to relate to his audience with every book he writes that has paved the way for 81-year-old Edgar Lawrence Doctorow’s illustrious career.

English professor Joe Cuomo, director of the Queens College Evening Reading Series, touched upon this as he introduced Doctorow at the series’ final installment of the semester at LeFrak Hall on April 24.

“One of the things that make Ed so remarkable is that he reinvents himself from book to book,” Cuomo said.

Doctorow’s new collection of short stories, “All the Time in the World,” also reflects this ability to change. The collection touches on a range of topics: from a man’s alienation to his suburban life in the present, to a mother-son pair of murderers in Illinois in the early 20th century. Doctorow read aloud from “The Writer in the Family,” one of the short stories from his new collection.

By way of introduction to the story, Doctorow explained the title. To him, “The Writer in the Family” is representative of the way a father introduces a child who “makes the mistake of saying he would like to be a writer” to distant relatives on holidays. The father makes this introduction “with some mixture of pride and derision” and the child “can’t figure out the proportion” of the two, the author said.

The specificity of his explanation easily led to moderator Leonard Lopate’s opening question.

“So, were you the writer in the family?” Lopate asked with a smile.

Doctorow responded by revealing that while he was the writer in his family, it was his older brother who was the original one. His brother took writing courses at City College and inspired him to see writing as a serious pursuit and possible career.

In many ways, the short story was autobiographical, based around, “a kid being asked to write a letter in his dead father’s voice.”

“I was asked to do that and I said no. Thirty years later, I realized that there’s no story if you say no,” Doctorow explained.

Doctorow is known for taking autobiographical and historical inspiration and changing critical details. His most recent book, “Homer and Langley,” serves as the ideal example. When asked about it, he responded that he treats their story like a myth.

Doctorow’s accomplishments have turned him into a bit of a myth himself. He has published 11 novels, three collections of short fiction, three volumes of essays and various other literary works. He has also received many honors, including the National Humanities Medal at the White House in 1998.

To find out more about opportunities to hear famous authors speak at Queens College, visit the Evening Readings website at www.qcreadings.org



About the Author

admin





Advertisement
 
 

 
49E7E56C-1314-441E-8FA1-1B7D166F1E7B

“The Empress of Soul” performs at Colden Auditorium

Gladys Knight performed in front of a packed audience on Nov. 7 in Colden Auditorium. A seven-time Grammy winner with over 40 years in the music industry, Knight played her hits ranging from genres including pop, gospel and adu...
by Candice Samuels
0

 
 
I-am-that-girl

Club Spotlight: I AM THAT GIRL starts a new chapter at QC

IAMTHATGIRL, a national non-profit organization, was founded in 2008 by Alexis Jones and co-founder Emily Greener to address the growing need for community amongst girls and young women by helping to build self-esteem and reali...
by Candice Samuels
1

 
 
Photo by Albert Roman

A marvelous time to be a comic book fan

Comic books have been around since the 1920s when many iconic characters were created such as Batman, Captain America and Spiderman. Hollywood continues to have a unique relationship with these characters through film and telev...
by Albert Roman
0

 

 
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Darrigo

Queens College student climbs to new heights in Israel

Studying abroad has become a rite of passage for many college students in recent years. Between discovering historical cities and tasting exotic cuisine, it can become an adventure of a lifetime. QC student Lisa Darrigo is curr...
by Jaime Zahl
0

 
Advertisement
 
Photo by Candice Samuels

Brooklyn Museum explores the art of high-heeled shoes

A shoe lover’s dream is brought to life at The Brooklyn Museum’s “Killer Heels” exhibition. From the high platform Chopines of 16th century Italy to the glamorous stilettos on today’s runways, the exhibition looks at ...
by Candice Samuels
0

 




Advertisement

0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Advertisement