Book Talk: A Saint from Texas by Edmund White
“ Edmund White's narrative brilliance ... give[s] us the divinely well-told tale of identical twins who set out to answer the question: Can Texas be transcended?... White's miracle is how he manages to deliver an epic that covers five decades, several precisely observed cultures and a host of indelible characters in a little under 300 pages. ... White's tale is exactly like a stroll through Le Jardin des Tuileries-if the garden had been planted with land mines instead of tulips… The rocket fuel that propels these abrupt plot twists past the slightest suspicion of implausibility is the author's trademark narrative virtuosity and high-octane erudition”
—New York Times Book Review
About the Book
From Edmund White, a bold and sweeping new novel that traces the extraordinary fates of twin sisters, one destined for Parisian nobility and the other for Catholic sainthood.
Yvette and Yvonne Crawford are twin sisters, born on a humble patch of East Texas prairie but bound for far more dramatic and tragic fates. Just as an untold fortune of oil lies beneath their daddy's land, both girls harbor their own secrets and dreams-ones that will carry them far from Texas and from each other. As the decades unfold, Yvonne will ascend the highest ranks of Parisian society as Yvette gives herself to a lifetime of worship and service in the streets of Jericó, Colombia. And yet, even as they remake themselves in their radically different lives, the twins find that the bonds of family and the past are unbreakable.
Spanning the 1950s to the recent past, Edmund White's marvelous novel serves up an immensely pleasurable epic of two Texas women as their lives traverse varied worlds: the swaggering opulence of the Dallas nouveau riche, the airless pretension of the Paris gratin, and the strict piety of a Colombian convent.
For nearly half a century, Edmund White's work has revitalized American literature, blithely breaking down boundaries of class and sexuality, and A Saint From Texas is one of his most joyous, gorgeously written, and piercing works to date.
Reviews and What Readers Say
“ The books by 80-year-old American novelist, memoirist and essayist Edmund White-honest, fierce and joyful explorations of love, sex and family-have been breaking boundaries and engaging readers for nearly 50 years. His latest whisks us from the hardscrabble Texas prairie to the streets of Paris and Columbia… a stunner about the secrets and dreams that bind two very different women."
“ The pagan and the saintly contend in this audacious new novel by Edmund White whose sympathy for his Texas-born characters radiates like a kind of blessing through their myriad adventures- sacred as well as secular, and always sensuously alive."
—Joyce Carol Oates
“ Beautiful sentences spill off the page. Readers will delight in White’s marvelous asides, characteristically exact vocabulary, and metaphors that make the reader smile… White has written a double first-person coming of age story replete with sex, dazzling wealth, secrets, and aspirations."
—New York Journal of Books
“ Steeped in White's ironic worldview… A Saint from Texas brims with wit and style. Proust meets John Irving in this grand and delightful comedy of manners." —Kirkus
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Edmund White (b. Ohio, USA, 1940) is the author of many critically acclaimed books, the most recent being The Flaneur. He was made an officer in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and won a literary prize from the Festival of Deauville. He now teaches at Princeton University. His acclaimed autobiography, My Lives, was published by Bloomsbury in 2006, while his play, Terre Haute, was published by Methuen Drama in 2007.