Remembering Robert Stone

January 14, 2015 1:10 PM

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Robert Stone was not a joiner. This may be what I admired about him most. During the 1950s, while living in Manhattan, he moved around the edges of the Beat scene (his wife, Janice, worked at the Seven Arts, a Times Square coffee shop and Beat hangout); by the early 1960s, he had relocated to Northern California, where he was part of a Stegner Fellow cohort at Stanford University that included Ken Kesey, Larry McMurtry and Tillie Olsen - and one of the early acid pilgrims in Kesey's circle, from which the Merry Pranksters would arise.

And yet, for all that this signals a certain engagement, the novelist - who died Saturday at 77 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - spent much of the last half century standing willfully apart.

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