Come Back in September: A Literary Education on West Sixty-Seventh Street, Manhattan

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Product Details

$32.00  $29.76
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
6.26 X 9.49 X 1.47 inches | 1.47 pounds

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About the Author

Darryl Pinckney is the author of the novels Black Deutschland and High Cotton and the nonfiction works Busted in New York and Other Essays, Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy, and Out There: Mavericks of Black Literature.


Named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2022 and a Best Nonfiction Book of 2022 by The Washington Post

"Elegant [and] intimate . . . With this new book, [Pinckney] gives us a window into the vibrant intellectual community that he and Hardwick shared . . . At times painful and poignant, Come Back in September is nonetheless a delight to read, full of deft character sketches and delicious gossip . . . I read and reread this book joyfully, catching many of Pinckney's references, looking up others and letting the rest wash over me like lyrics from a half-forgotten song." --Maggie Doherty, The New York Times Book Review

"The brilliant Elizabeth Hardwick . . . guided the 20-something Pinckney through the upper echelons of Manhattan literary and intellectual life. This memoir of that apprenticeship--by one of our most distinguished writers on African American culture, literature and history--provides a 'you are there' account of those thrilling years." --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"An ode to the power of mentorship if ever there was one . . . [Pinckney] takes us deep into a world in which there's no such thing as 'too literary, ' a world in which literature is an all-consuming passion that requires unwavering devotion, like taking vows." --Heller McAlpin, The Wall Street Journal

"Pinckney is a sly writer, with the impressionistic brush of a poet but the dedication of a historian . . . It says something about Hardwick's brilliance that even after reading nearly 500 pages about her, I wanted more." --Jessica Ferri, Los Angeles Times

At the heart of the book--which succeeds in capturing idiosyncrasies as well as a cultural and political era--lies Pinckney's loving relationship with Hardwick. Its depiction is all the more fond for his frankness . . . Come Back in September is a compelling paean to a vital, if unlikely, friendship." --Franklin Nelson, Financial Times (UK)

"[Pinckney's] written a remarkable work of emotional and intellectual balance--[he] pinpoints Hardwick's forcefulness as a critic while elevating the vulnerability that was essential to it." --Mark Athitakis, On the Seawall

"[A] brilliant memoir of a sentimental education among the literati of a bygone New York. Both stunningly well written and stuffed with dishy gossip . . . [Come Back in September is] an essential document of literary history evoking an era of hope, youth, wisdom, and tragedy."--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Pinckney's affectionate reminiscences capture their lasting brilliance . . . his profound 20-year bond with Hardwick glows on the page like warm afternoon sunlight." --Lesley Williams, Booklist (Starred Review)

"A poignant study of memory in action . . . Pinckney records [Elizabeth] Hardwick's life in intimate detail . . . Pinckney's roving style, his impressionist blurring, elevates a society memoir into a kaleidoscopic portrait of 1970s New York, [and] asks us to share his admiration for a writer who saw the essay, even the book review, not as a disposable form of journalism but as an opportunity for literary creation." --Charlie Tyson, Bookforum

"[Pinckney's] prose is entertaining, gossipy, and full of vivid thumbnails yet, in its loose-jointed way, deeply serious about literature and craft . . . The result is a captivating portrait of the writing life in one of its richest settings." --Publishers Weekly

"In a sumptuously written memoir that affectingly situates itself within the space of Hardwick's offered mentorship and friendship, Pinckney--an illustrious and captivating talent in his own right--reminisces about his close relationship with the pioneering writer and critic who was also his onetime professor." --Omari Weekes, Vulture