With heavyweights BookForum and NYRB dropping new issues this week, it’s easy to miss out on the Boston Review’s new issue. But don’t.
May I offer this essay on H.G. Wells?
I’ve been re-reading H.G. Wells’s Experiment in Autobiography once a year now for the past few years. When I’m asked why (which is often) I’m tempted to answer by quoting my mother. When she was in her 80s and living alone, I gave her a copy of the memoir of an Englishwoman, older than herself, who had written many novels and lived a life as different from hers as any life could be. A week later I found her reading the book as though in a trance. “How are you liking it?” I asked. She looked up at me, remained silent for a moment, and then said, “I feel as though she’s in the room with me.” And then she said, “When I finish this book I’m going to be lonely.”
My feeling exactly about Wells’s Experiment.
H.G. Wells sat down in 1932, at the age of 65, to write his autobiography, in order, he said, that he might find the peace necessary to go on trying to write the major book that would make up for all his less than major ones (by now close to 60 volumes of novels, stories, and nonfiction). . . .