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ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN Stephen Alter 1998 1st ed Hardcover DJ New
By Alter, Stephen.
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ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN: AN AMERICAN BOYHOOD IN THE HIMALAYAS.

1998. 319 pp. Alter grew up in Mussoorie, an Indian hill station. A delightful account of a cross-cultural man, part American, part Indian and British.

When Stephen Alter began writing fiction, it was hardly surprising that his stories "were full of invisible borders and erased identities." He was born in India, the son of Presbyterian missionaries, and although he relished the majestic natural beauty of his home high in the Himalayas--memorably evoked in crystalline prose--his memoir reveals a youth who never felt quite at home anywhere. (The United States during two family furloughs seemed as exotic as India.) Alter's outsider perspective provides many telling insights in his account of a remarkable boyhood.

From Publishers Weekly

As a boy, Alter visited the Taj Mahal by moonlight, kept homing pigeons as pets, observed cremations along the Ganges and toured Himalayan valleys and peaks, speaking a mixture of Hindi and English. Born in 1956 to American Presbyterian missionaries in Mussoorie, an Indian resort town high in the Himalayas, he wistfully evokes his idyllic Indian youth in this graceful memoir. The missionary community, "like a small town in middle America?Winesburg, Ohio, transported to the Himalayas," was outwardly harmonious, but beneath the neighborly, pious facade it seethed with squabbles and controversies, he reports.

Alter's sporadic boyhood travels in the U.S. with his parents (Ithaca, N.Y., in 1961-1962 and a crisscrossing adventure from Los Angeles to Princeton, N.J., in 1967-1968), where he felt "poor... cheated and deprived," led to his immersion in American pop culture, his atheism and his desire to become a writer. He left India for Wesleyan University in 1974. From India's cyclical rhythms and diverse cultures, he learned the potency of myth and metaphor, an experience beautifully distilled in a memoir that nonetheless remains rather detached from the wider Indian society. A writer-in-residence at MIT, Alter's novels include Neglected Lives. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

New Hardcover with Dust Jacket.

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