I didn’t know him. I wasn’t familiar with his work, nor did I know I should be.
I first became aware of James A. Michener during a Twitter Q & A session with another author, discussing Thurber’s The 13 Clocks. Neil Gaiman had said that James Thurber’s book for children was quite possibly his favorite, and was then asked what would be second.
His response was Michener’s Poland. Being Polish myself, I looked this up straight away. Poland is a sweeping novel, spanning 700 pages. And despite my browsings at the library and used book stores, I’ve yet to come across a copy. (I did find it on Amazon, obviously, but I’ve not made the purchase.)
As I’ve been reading Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s account of traversing sections of the Pacific Crest Trail on a three-month through-hike, she mentioned both her mother’s love of Michener novels, as well as reading The Novel on her trek, one of Michener’s books. Again I’m amazed at the interconnectedness of it all – that I can go so long without a hint of one author, only to have him pop up in two very interesting places.
As a preparation, I’ve purchased Alaska on Audible, another of Michener’s epic tales. At 57 hours, I’m sure that I’ll be listening to this for quite some time.