Eat, Pray, Love convinced millions of readers they had Elizabeth Gilbert figured out. But her new historical novel The Signature of All Things is a leap away from the mega-hit memoir-turned-film. Before she’s in the studio with Think host Krys Boyd today at 1 p.m., let's look at why Gilbert has been compared to Hemingway just as she’s been deemed a “chick-lit” author.
- While on the very masculine GQ staff, Gilbert was the profiler-apparent of male figures like Hank Williams III . Her editorial interests then eventually gave way to the very female indulgence of Eat, Pray, Love. “I spent much of my life trying not to be a girl,” Gilbert told The Rumpus last year. (Conversely, Gilbert also bartended at the original Coyote Ugly Saloon.)
- The Last American Man, Gilbert’s chronicling of famous Appalachian hiker Eustace Conway’s adventures, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2002. Gilbert had worked with the naturalist’s little brother Judson on a ranch in Wyoming - a string of menial jobs she took before breaking into a magazine career. One day Judson decided to visit her, and showed up at her apartment in New York City with Eustace. The rest is (published) history.
- For all of her steely ambition, Gilbert has no patience for those who knock the less-seasoned readers reached by Eat, Pray, Love. There's lots to this point in a recent NY Times profile. There was a woman in her ‘60s who told Gilbert at a Tulsa Barnes & Noble that Eat, Pray, Love was the first book she’d ever read. Of that shade of patron, Gilbert says: “So if that’s the kind of reader I’m not supposed to want, well, Jesus Christ. Give me a few thousand more of those!”
Elizabeth Gilbert will speak at Authors Live! at 7 p.m. this evening at Highland Park Methodist Church. Find out how to go.
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