Elk River Books presents North of Crazy: a memoir by Neltje

Wyoming author Neltje will share excerpts from her memoir, North of Crazy, on Thursday, April

27, at Elk River Books.

A member of the Doubleday publishing clan, Neltje (who uses no last name), was born into the

American literati, and was brought up in the moneyed world of cultural prestige. After a

childhood marred by abuse, neglect and alcoholism, she married the artist John Sargent, and

socialized with the likes of authors W. Somerset Maugham and Daphne du Maurier, New Yorker

co-founder Raoul Fleishman, actress Gertrude Lawrence, philosopher Bertrand Russell and poet

Theodore Roethke (who slept in their bathtub and once, during a manic bender, held a knife to

her throat).

North of Crazy follows Neltje’s emotional recovery, as well as her part in the Doubleday

family’s battles over money and power. After she divorced Sargent, she met a writer /painter

from London whom she eventually married, and moved her family to Wyoming where her

children went to a two room schoolhouse. Her memoir tells the tale of how she established

herself with two small children in the middle of nowhere, while fighting with her family over

Doubleday’s fortunes.

An abstract expressionist painter, Neltje uses as material her emotional response to the natural

world, a theme that comes through in her book: “My cabin here at the base of the Bighorn

Mountains in Wyoming fronts on the rising sun yet allows me to watch light fall behind the

granite peaks each evening from my living room chair.”

Bill Henderson, editor of the Pushcart Prize, calls North of Crazy “an epic and very personal

memoir of riches to rags to spiritual and artistic triumph. Neltje’s life story is profoundly

moving—and instructive. A classic, honest, and beautifully written memoir.”

Neltje’s reading is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. upstairs at Elk River Books,

120 N. Main St. For more information, call 333-2330.