To research his new mid-1800s novel, Heyday, Kurt Andersen turned to the contents of his library, a collection as multifaceted as its owner.
As a young man growing up in Omaha, Kurt Andersen dreamed of moving east. His parents were big readers; his mother was an amateur Willa Cather scholar who gave talks on the Nebraska novelist at women’s groups and book clubs. Andersen wrote for his junior high school paper, and at fifteen he discovered Emerson and Thoreau. His eldest sister went to graduate school in Chicago, which suggested to him the possibility of an academic career. When Andersen got to Harvard and started writing for the Lampoon, he began thinking about the life of a writer instead. “George Plimpton was hanging around, and John Updike was hanging around,” he recalls. “It all seemed plausible.”
A recent installment of Andersen’s awardwinning radio show, Studio 360, paid tribute to The Great Gatsby, and something in his own midwestern background
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