Solotaroff was one of the notable intellectuals of his generation, the founder of the New American Review, editor and friend of Philip Roth, and editor-in-chief at HarperCollins. Solotaroff reveals himself here as a thinking man with a big heart and gaping wounds of love that are not disconnected from the contributions he has made to American culture throughout his career.
Solotaroff turns back to the earliest pages of his romance with Lynn, remembering his first sighting of her emerging from the water as if from a dream. Yet the image, as he penetrates the intervening layers of sorrow and disappointment, is almost impossibly distant, fragile. First Loves reenacts the blurring of a perfect conception in the mind of a man who would devote his life to precision of thought and word. This opposition, of romantic and intellectual passion, drives the narrative and eventually brings it to crisis.
First Loves could be described as a very private feat of honesty from a public intellectual. Solotaroff's willingness to admit the failures, personal and professional, alongside the triumphs of his career gives a three-dimensional intensity to the emotions on the page. Working with all of the gritty and romantic elements of his storied life, Solotaroff manages to avoid a tone too heroic or honey-dipped; he manages simply to tell the tale.