in Primary


Ancient Evenings. Boston: Little, Brown, 4 April; London: Macmillan, 26 May. Novel, 709 pp., $19.95.

Ancient Evenings (1983)

Dedication: “To my daughters, to my sons, and to Norris.” The copyright page carries this note: “I would like to express my appreciation to Ned Bradford, Roger Donald, Arthur Thornhill, Scott Meredith, and Judith McNally for their assistance and encouragement on this work.” Discarded title: Master of the Secret. The novel’s dates of composition, 1972-1982, are given on its last page.

Rpt: Advance excerpts appeared in Paris Review (82.24), House and Garden (83.9), and Playboy (83.17), and, shortly after publication, in Vogue (83.30), again in Playboy (83.28), and in the (London) Sunday Times (83.42); excerpts from three chapters are reprinted in 98.7. See 72.19, 74.10, other 1983 entries.


This isn’t the big book I promised [in Advertisements for Myself, 59.13], but it is a big book. I think in a literary sense it’s the most innovative. I think this is far and away the most ambitious novel I’ve ever written. (83.13)