Michael Korda on "Follies of God"




Having been Tennessee Williams’s editor, and I hope friend, for several years, I am in a position to certify that James Grissom's electrifying and wonderfully readable book about him is the real thing. He has caught the voice, the man, the artist, exactly as I remember him: generous to a fault, astonishingly kind, always a force of nature, a writer to whom poetry came naturally, on paper and in conversation, a great artist perhaps in grief over the loss of his genius, or his increasing difficulty of getting back in touch with it as the years went by, yet determined courageously to carry on, working, creating, always illuminated serenely from within even when tormented by his own demons. 

   Few people have captured so well Tennessee’s strange mixture of fear and admiration for women, his profound understanding (rare among men) of what drives them, their dominating presence in all his work,  and his miraculous ability to work the magic of their strengths and weaknesses into some of the most powerful roles in the American theater. Lillian Gish, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Geraldine Page, Julie Harris, Katherine Hepburn (not to speak of his own mother and sister), these are among the women whose love, friendship and acting genius brought to life his characters and touched his soul, and Grissom has at last brought to the printed page some of the magic that radiated from Tennessee, even in his saddest moments, and explained so much more than we ever knew about the fierce, charming, and curiously evasive personality of America's greatest playwright.


Michael Korda, author of CLOUDS OF GLORY and CHARMED LIVES; former editor-in-chief, Simon & Schuster
 

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