Joyce Johnson's classic "Minor Characters" is valued not only for its portrayal of her relationship with Jack Kerouac but also for its stunning evocation of what it meant to grow up female in the 1950s. "In Missing Men," Johnson gives us an even more revelatory self-portrait as she examines?from a unique woman's perspective?the far-reaching reverberations of fatherlessness.
Born in 1935, she was an orphan's daughter, named for her grandfather, an immigrant poet from Warsaw who killed himself when her mother was only five. Johnson would marry two artists who were also fatherless. James Johnson died in a motorcycle accident, making her a widow at twenty-seven. Peter Pinchbeck, obsessed with reinventing abstract painting, was unable to commit himself to marriage and fatherhood. Telling a compelling story that has ?shaped itself around absences, ? "Missing Men" presents us with the arc and the flavor of a unique New York life?from the author's adventures as a Broadway stage child managed by her implacable mother to the fateful encounters that later brought her love and ultimately left her to make her way alone as an artist in her own right.