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David Plante is an American novelist. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, of French-Canadian and Indian descent. He is a 1961 graduate of Boston College and a professor of creative writing at Columbia University. He is one of the most prominent contemporary LGBTQ authors, and his novels examine homosexuality in a variety of contexts, his male characters ranging from openly gay to sexually ambiguous.
Plante’s work, for which he has been nominated for the National Book Award, includes Difficult Women (1983), a memoir of his relationships with Jean Rhys, Sonia Orwell, and Germaine Greer and the widely-praised Francoeur Trilogy--The Family (1978 ), The Country (1981) and The Woods (1982). Plante has written in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. He has homes in New York and London.
He has received awards from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation and the British Arts Council Bursary. He was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, England.
Plante is receiving strong reviews for his new novel, ABC. In the Washington Post, Elizabeth Hand compares the story to A.S. Byatt’s Possession and John Fowles’s The Magus. “David Plante’s beautiful, otherworldly new novel is that improbable creation, a metaphysical page-turner.” Of the intricate plot, she writes: “Its mismatched band of ‘death-obsessed and death-bound friends’ is a 21st Century variant on The Wizard of Oz, drawn together by grief, global tragedy, and their bizarre, shared passion for etymology.” The novel is “daring and exhilarating,” she adds, “unafraid of confronting the sort of philosophical issues that the late Ingmar Bergman did in his films.”
Comparing ABC to Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking, Tim Rutten writes in the Los Angeles Times that Plante’s novel “makes a luminous and unsentimentally consoling fictional addition to our consideration of the survivors’ lot.” Rutten notes that Gerard, the novel’s protagonist, like his creator, is steeped in the symbolic Catholicism of New England’s Francophone community.
Counterbalance Arts welcomes David Plante’s return for our programs. He last joined Seattle poet Madeline DeFrees in our “Salon” discussion of “The Catholic Pen.”
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David Plante was born and brought up in a French-speaking Catholic parish in Providence, Rhode Island, that was like an isolated fortress in Yankee New England. The nuns of the parish school wore long black veils and taught the children that they lived in le petit Canada, where they preserved the beliefs of le grand Canada, a country of suffering eased by miracles.
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