Seasoned debut

Charles Chadwick’s 688-page It’s All Right Now is the 72-year-old writer’s sixth novel, but is “the first of his books to find its way to readers.” In a review for the current Harper’s (print only), Wyatt Mason makes a case for debut novels by older writers (“older,” in this case, begins at 38):

For wasn’t it worth the wait when Joseph Heller, at the ripe age of thirty-eight, came to fruition with Catch-22, or when Ralph Ellison, nearing forty, came of age with Invisible Man; or William Golding, at forty-three, turned up with Lord of the Flies; or Walker Percy, at forty-five, at last arrived with The Moviegoer? However unique, each of these novels shares a maturity of form and thought that products of the young, in most every case, can only feign. What sustained their makers through the dark years? From what place did these stalwarts draw such enduring resourcefulness? James Joyce, who suffered on the road to himself and to us, ventured an answer that tidily acknowledges the fear that every aging author, unpublished, must face down: ‘Youth has an end: the end is here. It will never be. What then? Write it, damn you, write it! What else are you good for?”

(Thanks to Phil Campbell for the tip.)


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