Thomas Larson is the author of The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading and Writing Personal Narrative. For twelve years, he has been a staff writer for the San Diego Reader where he specializes in profiles, narrative nonfiction, and investigative journalism. A dynamic speaker, Larson presents workshops on memoir writing and lectures on Samuel Barber’s music throughout the country. he lives in San Diego with his partner Suzanna Neal.
“…graceful and engaging…” — Rain Taxi
We all know someone who has suffered a heart attack. But, how often do we learn the intimate, potentially life-saving details that accompany coronary disease? In The Sanctuary of Illness, Thomas Larson (The Memoir and the Memoirist; The Saddest Music Ever Written) gives a powerful and personal inside tour of what happens when our arteries fail. He chronicles the three heart attacks in five years that he survived, and the emergency surgeries that saved his life each time. Slowly waking up to the genetic legacy and dangerous diet that pushed him to the brink, he reveals a path to healing that he and his partner, Suzanna, discovered together. Told with urgency and sensitivity, The Sanctuary of Illness is a subtle reminder that heart disease seldom affects just one heart.
The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators. Whether they have charmed audiences with the purest beauty or battered them with the purest noise, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.
Ross, in this sweeping and dramatic narrative, takes us from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties, from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. In the tradition of Simon Schama's The Embarrassment of Riches and Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, the end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.