The Best Times is a special memento for me because it is a portal into my family’s past. Within its first few pages are recollections of my great-grandfather, John Randolph Dos Passos. “John R.” was an eminent lawyer and he loved life. I’m sure he would be pleased to know that his descendants have never forgotten him. On the contrary, my family often discusses him in the context of my grandfather’s upbringing. I think his spirit still dwells in Dos Passos Farm.
I think high school was the context for my first reading of The Best Times. Each time I read it, it grows in meaning. I should probably make a commitment to read it once each year.
My grandfather’s talent for descriptive, sensory writing is rarely discussed by critics. The Best Times and Orient Express are excellent examples his affinity for color, mood, and scents. I wish I had his half his observatory instincts.
I was delighted to have the chance to develop the cover concepts for these three titles and I hope everyone is pleased.
-John Dos Passos Coggin