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Audible Questionnaire with Cynthia Nixon

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Publisher's Summary

A powerful and revealing story about Georgia O’Keeffe, torn between the city that made her and the desert that promises to set her free, written by Paula McLain, the New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Wife and the forthcoming When the Stars Go Dark, and performed by Emmy Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon.

It’s 1929 in New York City. In an apartment high above Lexington Avenue, the painter Georgia O’Keeffe feels stuck. At 42, she should be at the apex of her powers as an artist, and yet something is missing. Her husband - the gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, who helped build her reputation in the art world - has grown needy and insecure, not to mention unfaithful. More than this, her work has lost its fire, and she knows it. The calla lilies and poppies for which she is revered now seem careful, predictable. Feeling desperate and conflicted, Georgia flees to New Mexico in search of something that will ignite her once again. There, she meets an adventurous young woman whose energy and optimism take hold of Georgia and show her a glimpse of what another kind of life - one of her own making - might look like.

Set against the transcendent desert landscapes of New Mexico, and brought to life by a beloved voice and contemporary master of historical fiction, Something That Cannot Die is an intimate portrait of a great artist and the adventures - both physical and spiritual - that moved and changed her.

©2020 Paula McLain (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

Dear Listener,

What draws me to the story of Georgia O’Keeffe?
"When I was 22 and knew nothing at all about art, a good friend drove me five hours from the small town in Michigan where I was living to see a retrospective of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work at the Chicago Art Institute. I remember looking at an enormous canvas of clouds, flat and cell-like against a lucid blue background, feeling sure no one had ever captured the sky exactly that way, and probably never would again. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by O’Keeffe’s work, and the mystery that surrounded her life. Her independence and staggering originality. The austere, high-priestess expression on her face in photographs. I tried to write a novel about her years ago, even before The Paris Wife was published. I read half a dozen biographies, studied her paintings, and her letters, and wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages, but could never find the right framework. Her life and legend were simply too big to tackle properly, I finally decided, and moved on—regretfully. But when Audible Originals came to me looking for a story, I knew I would try again, and look closer this time—focusing on one transformative summer in the middle of her life, when a chance meeting with an iconoclastic young woman helps her recognize what matters most, what’s hers to claim and can’t—won’t—ever die. It means so much for me to be able to share this story, 30 years in the making! I hope you enjoy! " – Paula McLain, creator of Something That Cannot Die
Paula McLain

About the Creator

Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next 14 years. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nurse’s aid in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress—before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She's the author of four novels, including the New York Times best-sellers Circling the Sun and The Paris Wife; a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses; and two collections of poetry. Her most recent book is the New York Times best-selling novel Love and Ruin, a fictional account of Martha Gellhorn’s passionate, stormy marriage to Ernest Hemingway in the early 1940s, as told from Gellhorn’s point of view. She lives with her family in Cleveland.

About the Performer

Cynthia Nixon is an Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner, who has been acting professionally since the age of 12. A lifelong New Yorker, she has been a longtime activist for better funding for public schools, abortion rights, and LGBTQ equality. In 2018 Nixon ran for Governor of New York State. Her campaign successfully placed issues of racial, economic and gender inequality front and center and received half a million votes, the most votes ever for a Democratic primary challenger in New York or elsewhere.
 She can be currently seen starring in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series Ratched as Gwendolyn Briggs opposite Sarah Paulson. The series tracks Nurse Ratched as she morphs from an average nurse into the monstrous authority figure she became in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. As of November 1st, 50 million people have watched Ratched, making it the streamer’s best new original launch of the year. Nixon is in production on HBO's The Gilded Age, a series created by Downtown Abbey's Julian Fellowes, in which she stars opposite Christine Baranski.
 When Broadway resumes, she is looking forward to directing the 40th anniversary production of Last Summer at Bluefish Cove a landmark play about 8 lesbian friends and lovers who take refuge together every summer, to be co-produced by Ellen Degeneres, Portia de Rossi, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner.
 Nixon has appeared in many films, including Stray Dolls, Sonejuhi Sinha’s celebrated feature debut about undocumented immigrants and the dark side of the American dream, Amadeus, Little Darlings, and Terrence Davies’ A Quiet Passion in which she played reclusive poet Emily Dickinson. Her performance garnered widespread acclaim, including being chosen by The New York Times Magazine as one of the 10 Best Actors of the Year in 2017, with A.O. Scott calling her portrayal"one of the most plausible and powerful depictions of genius ever committed to film." In 2015, she co-starred in Josh Mond's James White opposite Christopher Abbott, a film that won The Best of Next Audience Award at Sundance and earned Nixon an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Nixon is best known as Miranda Hobbes in HBO's celebrated series Sex And The City, a role that garnered her the first of her two Emmy Awards. She then went on to co-star in the two wildly successful Sex And The City films.  In 2009 Nixon was awarded the Best Spoken Word Grammy for her recording of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
Nixon lives in New York City, with her wife Christine Marinoni. They have three children: Sam, Charlie and Max.

What listeners say about Something That Cannot Die

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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i felt my life in this story

I love this short story because I am in a place where I am looking for a place and time I missed by starting adulthood as a child. From that time on I pleased everyone but me. Now 68 and alone I still feel like that sixteen year old mother with all my hopes still ahead of me. Saying when I get my child in school I will go back to school also.. Instead I had another child. but not giving up I kept going back to school until I got a degree. So I think I see myself in the lady.

11 people found this helpful

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This transported me to New Mexico and Ghost Ranch

I’m a big Georgia O’Keeffe fan, and have traveled to and stayed at Ghost Ranch, near her home there, and to see her Abiquiu home a number of times. I’ve read about her life and seen major exhibitions of her work.
I loved this story! I felt like I was right there with her, seeing the beauty of New Mexico and witnessing her growing independence.
Terrific story that left me wanting 25 more chapters!

10 people found this helpful

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I wish this was a full length novel!

Excellent! Engrossing! The story ended and I wanted to keep hearing Georgia's thoughts and feelings.
She was a woman ahead of her time and lived life on her own terms.

7 people found this helpful

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Subtly and beautifully told.

The telling of this story about Georgia O'Keefe made me feel like I was sitting in the room, or outside the tent with Georgia O'Keefe. So richly told, each chapter lets one experience in the hearing, what Ii think many wildly creative women have felt. A need for freedom to create, but conflicted in their relationships. Hearing of the life of such a remarkable woman (who I have read about many times before) , her acceptance of those who dared to be different when so much was behind closed doors, just simply made me feel good. Enjoy!

7 people found this helpful

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  • cp
  • 12-20-20

Such a pleasant listen!

This was so enjoyable to listen to and I was sorry when it ended.
it made me wonder why I don't spend more time alone in peaceful nature.
Life is so busy now and this just calmed me down.
Wonderful narration!

6 people found this helpful

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  • MH
  • 12-30-20

Hi hum

Another book/story of pretend dialogue from the past - the protagonists (the good guys/gals) are really woke- everyone around them, especially men are blockheaded oppressors (the bad guys/gals) - this is so tedious, Audible. Utter, predictable bore. A disservice to Georgia.

4 people found this helpful

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lovely and beautiful

Such a delightful story, i found it beautiful and romantic, captivating and extremely relatable. something I want to send to all of my 40-something lady friends to remind them how much life there is out there to be lived on their own terms.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful Production.

Spent time in Abiquiu and at the Ranch. McLain perfectly captures it and the Voice of Georgia O’Keefe! 4 Stars!

2 people found this helpful

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Mesmerizing!

This book was amazing! Whether or not you love Georgia Okeeffe, this is a wonderful short book. Several times this book had me in happy tears after the beautiful explanation of the beautiful New Mexico scenery. I have lived in New Mexico and miss it very much, this book capturing the joy and beauty and magic that is New Mexico that Georgia Okeeffe was able to find. This book is definitely recommend it and can be listened to in under a couple hours.

2 people found this helpful

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Monologue about Inspiration

This was not what I expected. Instead of a documentary, it’s a monologue about finding artistic freedom. Great title for artists and creators to enjoy. I found it overly long and somewhat dull. The artist finds a place in New Mexico that inspires her artwork.

1 person found this helpful