HOT DYING by William Saroyan
Kirkus Star


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A generous burst of illuminations and ruminations of brilliant matter from the expanding universe of Mr. Saroyan, this reveals the author as a man in his fifties who scowls about waning powers, is a father as well as a son, who uses time and is used by time. The author wonders if the title might not have been ""All the Days of July 1959"" instead, for this is a work-in- progress report while Mr. Saroyan is living with his teen-aged children in Paris. As he writes, the children worry about and delight in him; he explores with affection their touching worlds; his daughter weeps over The Scarlet Letter (Saroyan describes Hawthorne as ""no slob""); his son buys a Picasso drawing; and together they lose at the races. But from this month of living comes ""the book"" about ""not dying, to begin with.... about a man being a father, about having been a son, about time, about art, about talk"". Around these penultimate matters Mr. Saroyan's perceptions bloom like the many-blossomed Shistle and it is this living- this multiplying understanding, respect and love for things as they were, are and could be- that puts off dying. There are many observations about writing- some acute some rather boozy, and a sideswipe or two (Brecht is one casualty)- some character sketches both tender and ruthless- and a torrent of anecdote. In spite of the boundless range of this shower of sparks, there is a brilliant unity of spirit, an affirmation really needed today.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1963
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World