The exciting opportunity to meet and listen to Michael N. McGregor, author of “Pure Act: the Uncommon Life of Robert Lax” will be possible on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. when McGregor will visit the Fairfield University Downtown Bookstore to host a book talk and signing of his newest novella.
The book, a biography of Robert Lax, recounts the life of the American poet who influenced the likes of writers such as Thomas Merton, an American Catholic who wrote “The Seven Storey Mountain,” an autobiography popular among the WWII generation, and Jack Kerouac, author of the “On the Road.”
When questioned about why Lax is not a household name despite having such a wide influence, McGregor mused that it was perhaps “[Lax] was less outwardly ambitious than Kerouac or Merton.” Lax experimented with writing for much of his life, and for the last 38 years of his life, Lax lived on a remote island of Greece, which is where McGregor met him.
McGregor, who knew Lax personally for the last 15 years of his life, found the older writer to be fascinating. For this reason, he thought him to be a worthy topic for his first and only book.
“I think Lax’s story is a story for people of any age, no matter what orientation they are. As the subtitle says, he lived an uncommon life. I think he’s an inspiration to anyone.”
Although this is McGregor’s first book, he is a writing veteran; his undergraduate degree is in journalism, and he has experience working for magazines.
“A book of this type is somewhere between journalism and creative writing, because you have a strong central character that you are writing about,” explained McGregor.
His book, which has already been received with warmth despite not being officially published yet, is sure to be not only an interesting read, but also an enjoyable one.
“[The book] has only been available for about a week, but people have already emailed me. People have called it inspirational, have said that they were engrossed and that it brings Robert Lax to life, which is what you are aiming to do with a biography.”
McGregor enjoys the chance to speak with his readers and is hopeful that he will be able to do this when he comes to Fairfield.
According to McGregor, he has already done three book discussions, all of which were rewarding.
“They’ve all been great. They’ve been well-attended and we’ve sold some books. It’s been quite good so far.”
When asked who should read his book, McGregor said, “The intended audience is people who are looking for meaning in life, especially younger people who are still finding their way [and]especially those who are spiritual or creatively inclined.”