On a cold, rainy night, an aging bachelor named George Ticknor prepares to visit his childhood friend Prescott, a successful man who is now one of the leading intellectual lights of their generation. With a hastily baked pie in his hands, and a lifetime of guilt and insecurity weighing upon his soul, he sets out for the Prescotts' dinner party--a party at which he'd just as soon never arrive. Distantly inspired by the real-life friendship between the great historian William Hickling Prescott and his biographer, Ticknor is a witty, fantastical study of resentment; and a biting history of a one-sided friendship.
There were no books when I was a boy. Books were hardly accessible, yet there were some books. That is why I did not develop literary taste. I read what I found and it was for fun. You read mostly for idle pleasure. I did not read for fun,...
Praise for Ticknor
“The rancorous, interminable friendship between a Great Man and his envious, self-pitying biographer drives this cleverly coiled narrative....As deliciously intimate and clue-riddled as a Poe story.” —Publishers Weekly
“Ticknor is one of this year's most enjoyable and formally impressive books.” —The New York Sun
“Sheila Heti's touch is confident. She builds a memorable world inside the tiny space of Ticknor's anxious imagination, and we barely miss the air outside.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A pungent and hilarious study of bitterness and promise unfulfilled.” —Boldtype
“Heti paints a full and rich character:curmudgeonly, downright pathetic, but surprisingly fascinating.” —Bookforum
“A par-ticularly satisfying puzzle: Heti's prose is the journey, and the destination.” —The Village Voice
“Heti packs more life and literary pleasure into Ticknor than most authors do in novels three or four times its length.” —David Bezmozgis, author of Natasha