Pursuit of Happiness

The author Evan S. Connell died in Santa Fe in 2013. Photo by Linda Carfagno.

Like any good writer, Evan S. Connell melded life experience into his stories. Two of his books Mrs. Bridge published in 1958, and Mr. Bridge that was published in 1969 were the story of his childhood. He remembered growing up in a family that strove for fleeting moments of happiness. In 1990 Mr. & Mrs. Bridge became a movie starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

The movie based on the books by Evan S. Connell.

The movie depicts the writer’s own experience growing up in an upper middle-class household where his parents lived up to social expectations but never connected with their children. When I interviewed the author in 2011 he said, “My father never praised me for my work as a writer. The only time I can remember him ever appreciating anything I did was when I was twelve and I made footstool in school. When he put his feet on the stool he said that it was very comfortable. My mother was an extremely religious Protestant and she wanted me to be like her, but I just couldn’t.”

Award Winning Author

Since 1957, Connell published The Anatomy Lesson, his first book of short stories. He wrote twenty books on a manual Olympia type writer. Connell’s 1984 biography, Custer, Son of the Morning Star, was made into a movie for television in 1991 and won four Emmy Awards. In 2008 Lost in Uttar Pradesh was published. Throughout his writing career the author has perfected his style through both personal experiences and thought-provoking incidents.  

A Love of New Mexico

Connell enlisted in the Navy during World War II. He was stationed in Albuquerque at the West Mesa Naval Air Corp flight school. It was during that time that fell in love with New Mexico. He moved to Santa Fe in 1988.  In 2010 Evan S. Connell received the Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Award and in 2009, was also nominated for the Man Booker International book award. Both of these literary distinctions provided Connell with the satisfaction in knowing that he did right in choosing to become a writer. The author died in Santa Fe in 2013.

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