Holding the Road: Memoire of Reuel Wilson
Reuel Wilson’s new memoir, Holding the Road: Away from Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy, follows the author through his childhood, spent in the households of his divorced parents, and the expanding perspectives of his adult life. The reader meets Reuel’s closest relatives and confidants: Bowden Broadwater, his first step-father; Rosalind Wilson, his older half-sister; his uncle, Kevin McCarthy, the famous actor, and two remarkable Polish women, one a surrogate mother, the other McCarthy’s brilliant translator, who came to play the role of an aunt. Following his diverse interests, Reuel traveled widely. Intellectual and cultural history are reflected in the people and places he knew and glimpsed – Montgomery Clift, Peggy Guggenheim, Hannah Arendt, Dwight Macdonald, Renata Adler, James Jones, Edward Said, Eldridge Cleaver in California, a zombie prostitute in Moscow, a flamboyant independent book seller in Havana, a venerable Marxist writer in Port-au-Prince. The book closes with an inside view of academia, the author’s home territory. He also recalls his mother’s stints as a college lecturer, and analyzes her ground-breaking novel The Groves of Academe. The conclusion, punctuated by a student demonstration under the writer’s library study window, takes a broader view of the outlying city, landscape, and, by extension, of his adoptive country, Canada.
Reuel Wilson is my brother-in-law (my younger sister’s husband), and you will find my picture under the Tokyo caption.