Marijane Meaker (born May 27, 1927) is an American novelist and short story writer, who has used multiple pseudonyms for different genres. From 1952 to 1969 she wrote twenty mystery and crime novels under the name Vin Packer including the immensely popular Spring Fire, that is credited with launching the genre of lesbian "pulp" fiction, although the majority of Packer's books didn't address homosexuality or gay characters. Using her own observations of lesbians in the 1950s and 1960s, she wrote a series of nonfiction books under the name Ann Aldrich from 1955 to 1972. In 1972 she switched genres and pen names once more to begin writing for young adults, and became quite successful as M.E. Kerr, producing over 20 novels and winning multiple awards. She was described by The New York Times Book Review as "one of the grand masters of young adult fiction." As Mary James, she has written four books for a younger children's audience.
Irrespective of genre or pen name, Meaker's books have in common complex characters that have difficult relationships and complicated problems, who rail against conformity. Meaker said of this approach, "I was a bookworm and a poetry lover. When I think of myself and what I would have liked to have found in books those many years ago, I remember being depressed by all the neatly tied-up, happy-ending stories, the abundance of winners, the themes of winning, solving, finding --- when around me it didn't seem that easy. So I write with a different feeling when I write for young adults. I guess I write for myself at that age."
Marijane Agnes Meaker was born to Ida T. and Ellis R. Meaker (a mayonnaise manufacturer) in Auburn, New York, where she also spent her childhood. She mentions in an autobiography that Carson McCullers' book Member of the Wedding influenced her. In a 2006 interview, Meaker said of McCullers', "I was drawn to all McCullers’s books. She was an underdog-lover as I am. She was also this sensitive, intelligent writer whose words were lovely. I felt she was a champion of everyone who felt out-of-step with the world. I still feel that way." Meaker grew up in a house filled with books and was fascinated by the concept of writing and writers. She was particularly interested in the idea of a pseudonym, that one could invent a new name and a new personality with each name.Marijane Meaker, aka Vin Packer, was involved romantically with author Patricia Highsmith for two years. She wrote about this relationship in the 2003 non-fiction memoir, Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950s, and discussed it and her own pulp-fiction novels in interviews around the time of the book's release. Meaker explained her reasons behind writing about their relationship: "I knew Pat when she was young and not yet so jaded and bigoted. The internet is filled with stories of her meanness, and prejudice, and also of her introversion, of her being a loner. I met that Pat many years after we broke up."( Collapse )
The fabric of my nighttime twin is made of desire, of music, from the ash of the books that mattered most. That fabric is stressed and frayed when I am in-between books, when a suitable suitor isn’t lined up for immediate consumption after finishing a satisfying book, I’ll rip through back issues of the New Yorker and pull out all of the amazing but just-not-right-now books I’ve hoarded for years. I’ll visit the Strand and hunt online and never ask for recommendations as this is my problem, not yours. It’s as personally crushing as an engagement deferred. Often I’ll fortify myself with four or five pending titles so that when I finish a book there are ample choices, always a healthy mixture of fiction and nonfiction, representing different cultures and time periods (I favor all things Japanese, the later Roman Empire, and Twentieth Century author biographies and in keeping with my tradition of reading one author biography a year and breaking my own rules, I’ve read five so far this year and can strongly recommend Marijane Meaker’s memoir of her relationship with Patricia Highsmith). --Tom Cardamone( Collapse )
Patricia Highsmith (January 19, 1921 - February 4, 1995) was an American novelist and short-story writer most widely known for her psychological thrillers, which have led to more than two dozen film adaptations. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train
has been adapted for the screen three times, notably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. In addition to her acclaimed series about murderer Tom Ripley
, she wrote many short stories, often macabre, satirical or tinged with black humor. Although she wrote specifically in the genre of crime fiction, her books have been lauded by various writers and critics as being artistic and thoughtful enough to rival mainstream literature.
Marijane Meaker was involved romantically with author Patricia Highsmith for two years. She wrote about this relationship in the 2003 non-fiction memoir, Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950s, and discussed it and her own pulp-fiction novels in interviews around the time of the book's release. Meaker explained her reasons behind writing about their relationship: "I knew Pat when she was young and not yet so jaded and bigoted. The internet is filled with stories of her meanness, and prejudice, and also of her introversion, of her being a loner. I met that Pat many years after we broke up."
As of 2006, Meaker was living in East Hampton, New York, where she taught writing classes at the Ashawagh Hall Writers' Workshop. Her workshop experiences led to the nonfiction instructional book, Blood on the Forehead: What I Know About Writing (1998).
Michael Dirda observed that "Europeans honored her as a psychological novelist, part of an existentialist tradition represented by her own favorite writers, in particular Dostoevsky, Conrad, Kafka, Gide, and Camus".( Collapse )
Highsmith has long been one of my literary icons. When it comes to probing the darkest sides of human nature, no one does it better than she. Strangers on a Train is a much better novel than the Hitchcock movie of the same name (although that was not without its charm, among them the very lovely Farley Granger) and has a much darker resolution. Its homoeroticism, too, is much more explicit than in the sanitized Hollywood film that bears the same name. --Rick R. Reed
On my first casual viewing of the film, The Talented Mr. Ripley, I missed most of the gay content. After reading the book and watching the movie again, I marvel at how anyone could miss it. Ripley is a tragic villain, if there can be such a thing, but such a well-drawn character that you can't help being engaged in the book. --Kyell Gold
Some books (like mine) leave little to the imagine when it comes to sizzling mansex. Others, like THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, let the heat between the characters simmer and brew, without so much as a word being said or a deed being done. And although this book isn’t strictly a GLBT novel, the sexual tension between Tom and Dickie is electric, and ultimately devastating. I’ve loved this book for a long time, and I was so pleased when the movie came out that instead of dumbing down the homoerotic tension (which Hollywood is so fond of doing), director Anthony Minghella actually turned the gay heat levels all the way up, even given Tom a male love interest other than Dickie! Bravo! --Geoffrey Knight( Collapse )( Collapse )More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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