by Brian Hall
Brian Hall has once again pulled off another high-wire feat of empathy. His meticulously-researched book taking us inside the minds of the Lewis & Clark expedition, I Should Be Extremely Happy In Your Company, remains one of my very favorites, and he returns to this form with Fall of Frost. This time he's primarily inside one man's head, though that head is old and white and tends to dart back and forth in time. Though we often travel back to Frost's youth or early adulthood, it sometimes seems as if we're still with Frost in his old age, traveling through his own history, making sense of his past while occasionally reshaping it into legend as needed. After all, in his later years he's a celebrity, often interviewed about the life that brought the world such beloved poetry. Frost's public doesn't necessarily want to hear the grimy truth, and neither does Frost want to talk about it. He is both a painfully solitary man and a constant cultivator of attention. There are countless detailed biographies about Robert Frost, but Hall lets us be there, with him, as he stops by woods one snowy evening. Beautiful.