Fall of Frost


Selected as one of the best novels of the year by The Boston Globe and The Washington Post.

Robert Frost, as both man and artist, was toughened by a hard life.  His own father died when Frost was eleven; his only sibling, a sister, had to be institutionalized; of his six children, one died before the age of four and another in infancy, one committed suicide, one went insane, and one perished in childbirth.  But as Hall shows, Frost determined early on that he would not succumb to the tragedies life threw at him.  The deaths of his children were forms of his own death from which he resurrected himself through poetry—for him, the preeminent symbol of man’s form-giving power.

Told in brief chapters, each of which presents an emblematic incident with the intensity and immediacy of a lyric poem, Hall’s novel deftly weaves together the earlier parts of Frost’s life with his final year, 1962, when at the age of eighty-eight, under the looming threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he traveled to Russia determined to meet with Nikita Khrushchev in a quixotic attempt to save the world from nuclear war.

Fall of Frost is a searing, exquisitely constructed portrait of one man’s rages, guilt, generosity, genius, paranoia, and sheer, defiant persistence, as well as an exploration of why good people suffer unjustly and how art is born from that unanswerable question.


“Flawless, intensely moving, and supremely intelligent . . . Fall of Frost is far more than a fictionalized biography, it is a novel as wily, elusive, and deceptively plain as the life it so deftly evokes.”  —The Boston Globe

“A savory pleasure to read . . . Like Frost’s poetry, Hall’s novel is pungent, deceptively simple and magnificently sad . . . A powerful and convincing portrait.”  —The Washington Post

“Elegant prose in fiction always grips me, but only occasionally does a novel come along whose language holds me spellbound, makes me forget the tyranny of plot . . . Hall’s biographical novel of Robert Frost is absorbing art worthy of its subject.”  —The Kenyon Review

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