American Legends/California Classics Books
ROLFE WILL CELEBRATE THE PUBLICATION
OF HIS LAST BOOK -- PLEASE JOIN IN!
Lionel Rolfe will celebrate the publication of what is possibly his last book, The Uncommon Friendship of Yaltah Menuhin and Willa Cather, at two big events. The official publication party will be at Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave. Saturday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. (323) 660-1175. The second event will be at Duttons Brentwood, 11975 San Vicente Blvd., Sunday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m. (310) 476-6263.
The Uncommon Friendship of Yaltah Menuhin and Willa Cather
Paperback original, 6 x 9, 168 pages,
illustrated with historical photographs
1-879395-46-0 * .95
In recent years, much light has been shed on the remarkable life and writing of American author Willa Cather (1873-1947), many of whose novels explored the subject of women and creativity.
Now, acclaimed author Lionel Rolfe (The Menuhins: A Family Odyssey, Literary L.A. and Fat Man on the Left: Four Decades in the Underground) has delved into his fascinating family history to reveal the extraordinary story of the friendship between Willa Cather and his mother, piano prodigy Yaltah Menuhin (1920-2001), sister of violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Against the tumultuous backdrop of America and Europe in the early and mid-20th century, Rolfe presents the engrossing chronicle of his mother’s struggle as a budding musician, her tragic relationship with her own parents, and the solace she found when Cather became her mentor -- a mutually inspiring friendship which would endure for decades and would see Yaltah inspiring some of the most memorable heroines in Cather’s novels, most notably Lucy Gayheart.
Here is a personal yet universal book which not only provides illuminating new insight into two important women artists, but also raises many provocative questions about the effects of societal and familial constraint on the lives of brilliant women.
From the preface:
I ended the book with deepened understanding of the special relationship between Rolfe’s mother and Willa Cather, and appreciated it for that reason. But mainly I appreciated it because of insights it enabled about the family of the Menuhins, and about what it meant to be a third and female prodigy in that family.
It is a deeply humanizing reminder of actual people who create the art, and who create the conditions of artistic performance.
-- Sue Rosowski, University of Nebraska