8th Day Paperback – Feb 1 1976
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About the Author
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works, exploring the connection between the commonplace and cosmic dimensions of human experience, continue to be read and produced around the world. His Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of seven novels, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, as did two of his four full-length dramas, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). Wilder's The Matchmaker was adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly!. He also enjoyed enormous success with many other forms of the written and spoken word, among them teaching, acting, the opera, and films. (His screenplay for Hitchcock's Shadow of Doubt  remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day.) Wilder's many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Committee's Medal for Literature.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The mechanic is sentenced to death but escapes through the work of an unknown group of men. One of the daughters decides that in order to carry on she and her family must run a boarding house. At the time people feared being relegated to the poor house.
The hopeful find nourishment in marvels. Eventually John Ashley, the condemned man, makes his way to Chile to work in the copper mines. The root of avarice is the fear of what circumstances might bring. Ashley had tried to live in a manner opposite that of his father who was a miser.
After the crisis and while the boarding house was being started, John Ashley's son Roger, age seventeen, moved to Chicago. In the beginning he was a dishwasher. Quickly he moved through jobs as a hotel clerk and an orderly. Roger met some journalists and resolved to become a newspaper man.
He was starved for food of the spirit. Once he was given a ticket to FIDELIO. After being in Chicago eighteen months he became a reporter. Roger met his sister, the musician of the family, in Chicago. His sister Lily's friend, the Maestro, told Roger that works of art are the only satisfactory productions of civilization.
Roger and his sister hit upon a plan to use their real extravagant middle names and last names in their newspaper work and singing respectively to enable their father to contact them. John Ashley had gone to engineering school in Hoboken.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I settled down to give it a go and was unable to put it aside. When I finished reading it, I said -- as it encompassed so many places with a unifying sense of metaphysical connections -- "Look no further. This is it: The Great American Novel. I don't know what the fuss has been about, 'oh who could we pick?'. . . 'it has not yet been written. . .'
Clearly it has been, and has been languishing on library shelves throughout all the bloodless PG-PC interpretations of "Our Town," to which we have been subjected, all in the hopes that the bland versions introduced to us we intrigue us enough to read more on our own. "Our Town" has been presented as our 'been there, done that' exposure to Thornton Wilder:'" a grave disservice, perhaps an intentional burying of a thoughtful, perceptive, and persuasive -- not to mention very very hip -- author under layers of one-size-fits-all theatre.
If you haven't read it, do. It is the kind of book that comes back in bits and pieces -- in scenes remembered as one's own experiences are -- over the years.
Looking at the reviews here already, I was surprised to see that all of us who thoroughly enjoyed reading this book have such close similarity of responses: "candidate for great american novel," "sadly neglected," "memorable," inspiring . . . .
It is a book that is hard to describe, as it is an experience that takes hold in the reader, an experience of scenes we think perhaps were ones we have been in, somewhere, sometime, or of which we have somehow a deeply felt/remembered knowledge.
I don't read many American authors, preferring British authors with a mention for the Booker Prize. Thornton Wilder does it for me -- perhaps closest to Somerset Maugham, yet wholly American (and here we should not be envisioning a flag-waving bumper sticking "patriot"). It is that part of what is really American (forget the pumpkin pies and turkey) that survives in spite of all efforts to eradicate its soul.
The title, _The Eighth Day_, becomes easier to remember and less likely to be confused with "a war novel" when we consider that yes, "on the seventh day, God rested," and all time since then has been the Eighth Day of creation, one in which man -- Kerouac's "Desolation Angels" -- is to be making the most of what has been given him to work with, his purpose in living, acting, working, as another put it, to define God to himself.