A Cold Case
In his novel, Brian Hall pries beneath Robert Frost's brittle demeanor
Fall of Frost:
by Brian Hall
$25.95 List Price
Robert Frost became a monster in 1966. That was the year Lawrance Thompson finally brought out the first volume of his authorized biography (two more followed, in 1970 and '76)—an account that Brian Hall, the author of the novel Fall of Frost, calls a mauling. Frost had given Thompson the go-ahead in 1939, when he was already elderly (he was born in 1874), with the stipulation that publication await his death. And then, uncooperatively, he lived on. And on. Resentments grew, and by the time he did die, in 1963, at the age of eighty-eight, the two men hated each other.
Subsequent biographers have come to Frost's defense, but nobody describes him as a sunbeam. He was controlling and paranoid—grist for the biographer but not much of a hero to hang a novel on. Difficulty is catnip to Hall, though, whose last novel,
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