Familiar Spirits

Familiar Spirits

A Memoir of James Merrill and David Jackson

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142000458
  • 192 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


Alison Lurie, one of America’s greatest novelists, has written a loving memoir of world-famous poet James Merrill and his longtime partner David Jackson. Drawing on her forty-year friendship with Merrill and Jackson, Lurie reveals the couple’s deep involvement with ghosts, gods, and spirits, with whom they communicated through a Ouija board. Among the results of their intense twenty-year preoccupation with the occult is the brilliant book-length poem “The Changing Light at Sandover”, which Merrill called his “chronicles of love and loss.” Recalling Merrill and Jackson’s life together in New York, Athens, and Key West, Familiar Spirits is a poignant memoir infused with great affection and generous amounts of Lurie’s signature wit.


“[A] remarkable and moving memoir.” The Boston Globe

“Written with the poignancy of long affection.” The Atlantic Monthly

“This memoir is Lurie’s own Ouija board, through which she shares one final, intimate conversation with her much-missed familiar spirits.” The Washington Post
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