The product of 30 years of friendship and conversation, Jay Parini's Empire of Self probes behind the glittering surface of Gore Vidal's colorful life to reveal the complex emotional and sexual truth underlying his celebrity-strewn life. But there is plenty of glittering surface as well - a virtual who's who of the American Century, from Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart through the Kennedys, Princess Margaret, and the creme de la creme of Hollywood.
In Jesus, Jay Parini turns the powerful narrative skill he’s wielded over the course of a four-decade career to a figure who has dominated our collective imagination and cultural iconography for over 20 centuries. The main trend of modern theology has hinged on the notion of "demythologizing" Jesus. Parini’s book seeks to re-mythologize him, considering the story in all its mythical radiance, taking Jesus as the human face of God. It asks: What’s so moving about Jesus’s story that millions of people over two millennia have considered it a paradigm for living?
"Wonderful and enlightening"
Poetry doesn’t matter to most people, observes Jay Parini at the opening of this book. But, undeterred, he commences a deeply felt meditation on poetry, its language and meaning, and its power to open minds and transform lives. By the end of the book, Parini has recovered a truth often obscured by our clamorous culture: without poetry, we live only partially, not fully conscious of the possibilities that life affords.
"One of the best defenses of poetry..."
Set in the last tumultuous years of Leo Tolstoy's life, The Last Station centers on the battle for his soul waged by his wife, Sofya Andreyevna, and his leading disciple, Vladimir Cherkov. Torn between his professed doctrine of poverty and chastity and the reality of his enormous wealth, his 13 children, and a life of relative luxury, Tolstoy makes a dramatic flight from his home.
Jay Parini's readings are always an event but too rare. For the first time, Parini has recorded his best known and most recent poems in an audiobook that welcomes the listener to enter his universe, which revolves around his deep connection to nature and underlines his concerns about the impacts of pollution and climate change. The audiobook follows the pattern of his popular readings, with the poet introducing each poem with context and comments, invariably revealing and often amusing.