Books by Nicholas Delbanco

Nicholas Delbanco is the author of more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Vagabonds, What Remains, Old Scores, The Countess of Stanlein Restored, Running in Place: Scenes from the South of France, and The Lost Suitcase: Reflection


THE ART OF YOUTH by Nicholas Delbanco
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 19, 2013

"A study that belabors the obvious and provides little illumination."
Delbanco (English/Univ. of Michigan) must have intended this as a bookend to his earlier study, Lastingness: The Art of Old Age (2011). Through a selection process that seems arbitrary, he focuses on (in chronological order) author Stephen Crane, painter Dora Carrington and composer George Gershwin. Read full book review >
LASTINGNESS by Nicholas Delbanco
NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 24, 2011

"Shows that time's winged chariot can glisten brightly, even in the sunset."
A prolific author now in his late-60s examines why some artists remain productive, even innovative, in the dying of the light, while others opt not to rage but to rusticate. Read full book review >
SPRING AND FALL by Nicholas Delbanco
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 19, 2006

"Delbanco's writing is smooth, but bland."
From the prolific Delbanco (The Vagabonds, 2004, etc.), a low-wattage romance about former college sweethearts whose feelings rekindle when they meet again, by accident, 40 years later. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2005

"A Guide Bleu for the literary armchair."
A delightfully aimless, somewhat rueful collection of nine essays on places visited and friends lost. Read full book review >
THE VAGABONDS by Nicholas Delbanco
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 11, 2004

"Too busy a story makes for a tepid read: Delbanco's latest skims the surface without grabbing hold."
The prolific author (What Remains, 2000, etc.) traces a hidden legacy through three generations. Read full book review >
WHAT REMAINS by Nicholas Delbanco
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 22, 2000

"One of Delbanco's most attractive and accessible books."
Delbanco's elegiac and elegant 13th novel (Old Scores, 1997) gathers the voices of a family of German emigrant Jews to describe their "escapes" (to London, then America) from Hitler's persecution, and their mourning for the high culture betrayed and destroyed by the Nazi regime. Read full book review >
OLD SCORES by Nicholas Delbanco
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 22, 1997

"A moving exploration of a believably passionate love, and of its subtle, powerful, persistent impact on the lives of two stubborn romantics."
A sad, convincing, autumnal tale of love lost, found, and lost again, by old pro Delbanco (In the Name of Mercy, 1995, etc.). Read full book review >
IN THE NAME OF MERCY by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: Sept. 12, 1995

"Strangely dry and academic: more an exercise than a novel."
Timely if flat euthanasia novel from Delbanco, head of the University of Michigan's writing program and author, mostly recently, of The Writers' Trade (1989). Read full book review >
Released: July 22, 1989

"Delbanco often notes that Provence is a harsh land; a little of that harshness in his narrative would have done much to help this memoir keep its balance."
A disappointing attempt to wrest significance from a lifetime of visits to Provence; by a veteran novelist (Sherbrookes, Stillness, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 11, 1989

"The metaphor of the writer writing can wear thin, but, still, this is a solid—if specialized—collection about the disillusions and small epiphanies of the literary life."
Delbanco, author of the Sherbrookes trilogy (Possession, Sherbrookes, Stillness), here offers a second collection of intelligent but surfacey stories (About My Table, 1983), all concerning writers (mostly male) who must accommodate their illusions to reality. Read full book review >
THE BEAUX ARTS TRIO by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: Jan. 23, 1984

"684), this uninspired mosaic provides neither rich character-studies nor involving vignettes."
Because author Delbanco is a novelist (Sherbrookes) and the son-in-law of Beaux Arts Trio cellist Bernard Greenhouse, you might expect this treatment to have more texture than the routine, patchwork artist-profile book. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1983

"Mildly involving, never-disturbing short fiction, then: sentimental, wistfully thoughtful, undistinguished."
Like much of Delbanco's full-length fiction (Stillness, Sherbrookes, etc.), these nine stories are intelligent, readable, well-meaning—yet lacking in depth, drama, or texture. Read full book review >
Released: April 16, 1982

"All in all: familia material, sketchy—and unconvincingly didactic—treatment."
After a long stretch of portentous yet limp throat-clearing, novelist Delbanco (Sherbrookes, etc.) offers the slim substance here: three small, chatty studies in literary "collegiality"—all of them involving writers who lived in the same area of England (Kent and East Sussex) around 1900. Read full book review >
STILLNESS by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: Sept. 12, 1980

"Required reading, of course, for those who enjoyed the previous two volumes (and Delbanco does a firm job of closing out the trilogy for them), but the author seems understandably eager to wrap up and move on—perhaps to richer, livelier material."
The final book of Delbanco's trilogy (Possession, Sherbrookes) about the odd-fated Vermont manorial family, the Sherbrookes. Read full book review >
POSSESSION by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: Feb. 11, 1976

"These give the novel its strength and austerity even if it's as claustral as an hour spent in a root cellar."
Delbanco goes on writing his perhaps thanklessly individualistic books, which are not so much private as confined. Read full book review >
SMALL RAIN by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: March 10, 1975

"The book with its high-toned blat is also just that kind of experience."
After Fathering, Delbanco's only accessible novel, Small Rain's a steady drizzle of raffine exchanges (French, German, Italian and Latin on every other page), recondite vocabulary stretchers ("He permitted the oxymoronic construction; he used the chiasma in speech"), not so recondite aesthetic referrals (the Brownings, Buddenbrooks) and a little name-dropping of fine foods and wines. Read full book review >
FATHERING by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: Dec. 7, 1973

"Robert's estranged and vague and footless years of wandering are indeed justified although by the close (Elizabeth commits suicide; Hans dies; Alexander shoots himself but only succeeds in losing his sight; etc., etc.) all these 'linkages' and 'couplings' will not have corroborated his 'provenance' or restored his real and psychic identity, both a word and a concern which have become the cliche of our time."
Even if Mr. Delbanco has abandoned some of his most capricious stylistic tics, Fathering is still pretty heavy weathering and the occasional word remains "echoic" of perhaps Durrell, not so much in the shifting perspectives — there's that — but in the truly pate de foie gras prose. Read full book review >
IN THE MIDDLE DISTANCE by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: Sept. 12, 1971

"However cluttered with experiential bric-a-brac, this is still a fresh concept of the middle distance."
When Mr. Delbanco, who hit a high point with The Martlet's Tale (1966) and missed on the others, is committed to straight narrative, everything falls into place; but this story of middle-aged crisis is fragmented by the irritating dialogue. Read full book review >
NEWS by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: May 12, 1970

As far as general readability is concerned Mr. Delbanco's tangled fabrications have been downhill racing all the way since his first successful The Martlet's Tale (1966) and this one's another irritating mix of strangulated vision and alluvial prose. Read full book review >
CONSIDER SAPPHO BURNING by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: March 10, 1969

"Anomie in Arcady."
Consider Sappho, a middle-aged, Bollingen-winning "poetess" doodling here about herself and five others (a painter, a musician, etc.), none of whom you can differentiate and certainly not by their sex and all of whom are "interchangeable, symbolic and not substantive." Read full book review >
GRASSE 3/23/66 by Nicholas Delbanco
Released: Feb. 28, 1968

"Strictly a private puzzle."
There is an old saying that you go into a poem sober, but if you don't come out of it drunk it's no poem. Read full book review >