Hauser and Sandoz

This is a profile of Marianne Hauser, written for the Mari Sandoz Heritage Newsletter, Spring 2001, by Richard F. Voorhees. The occasion was her 90th birthday and the place was New York, where she lived. This profile is fascinating for the light it sheds on one of Hauser’s most important, and best, books, The Memoirs of the Late Mr. Ashley. (The Publisher’s Weekly review of the book is beyond idiotic! Read mine instead). According to Voorhees the model for Mr. Ashley was a man named Wesley Towner, one of Hauser’s close friends and drinking buddies, and the author of The Elegant Auctioneers. In the novel, Ashley is supposed to be writing a non-fiction opus about southern mansions, his lack of production notoriously disguised by the tape recording of a clacking typewriter. Towner, unlike Ashley, mostly completed his book before dying. Towner’s family owned the building Mari Sandoz lived in. In this profile Voorhees also discusses how Sandoz and Hauser became friends, and the encouragement Sandoz gave her when writing The Choir Invisible. Richard Voorhees is a fascinating man in his own right. It’s not a surprise that he and Hauser would hit it off.