Child of Light: A Biography of Robert Stone

Doubleday. Mar. 2020. 608p. ISBN 9780385541619. $35. LIT
This first full biography of American novelist Robert Stone (1937–2015), by the Stone’s friend and colleague Bell (Goucher Coll.), examines each of author’s seven novels, starting with Hall of Mirrors, which was adapted into the film WUSA. Bell provides meticulous details of his subject’s creative process, cogently describing Stone’s marriage to wife Janice, as well as the family, friends, and literary acquaintances who dominated his sphere. For readers who lived through the 1960s (including this reviewer), Stone’s depictions of the drug counterculture, the Vietnam War, Hollywood, unrest in Central America, the Middle East, and Israel bring to vivid life the many tumultuous events and themes that dominated American culture during the second half of the 20th-century. Stone himself wrestled with drug and alcohol addiction and a wanderlust lifestyle inspired by Beats such as Ken Kesey and his followers, all of which made this generation both exhilarating and exhausting.
VERDICT For anyone who appreciates great literature (especially the wonderful fiction of Stone), this is required reading.
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