20th Century American Novel and Short Story
Cassandra at the Wedding
Paperback ISBN: 1590176014
Cassandra Edwards is a graduate student at Berkeley: gay, brilliant, nerve-racked, miserable. At the beginning of this novel, she drives back to her family ranch in the foothills of the Sierras to attend the wedding of her identical twin, Judith, to a nice young doctor from Connecticut. Cassandra, however, is hell-bent on sabotaging the wedding. Dorothy Baker's entrancing tragicomic novella follows an unpredictable course of events in which her heroine appears variously as conniving, self-aware, pitiful, frenzied, absurd, and heartbroken—at once utterly impossible and tremendously sympathetic. As she struggles to come to terms with the only life she has, Cassandra reckons with her complicated feelings about the sister who she feels owes it to her to be her alter ego; with her father, a brandy-soaked retired professor of philosophy; and with the ghost of her dead mother. First published in 1962, Cassandra at the Wedding is a book of enduring freshness, insight, and verve. Like the fiction of Jeffrey Eugenides and Jhumpa Lahiri, it is the work of a master stylist with a profound understanding of the complexities of the heart and mind.
Nothing but the Night
Paperback ISBN: 1681373076
Stoner author John Williams's first novelis a searing look ata man's relationship with his absent father, and how early trauma manifests throughout one's life John Williams’s first novel is a brooding psychological noir. Arthur Maxley is a young man at the end of his emotional rope. Having dropped out of college, he’s holed up in a big-city hotel, living off an allowance from his family, feeling nothing but alone and doing nothing but drinking to forget it. What’s brought him to this point? Something is troubling him, something is haunting him, something he cannot bring himself either to face or to turn away from. And now his father has come to town, a hail-fellow-well-met kind of guy. They’ve been estranged for years, and yet Arthur wants to meet—and so he does, reeling away from the encounter for a night of drinking and dancing and a final reckoning with the traumatizing past that readers will not soon forget. This edition of Nothing but the Night includes an interview with Nancy Gardner Williams, the author’s widow.
The Outward Room
Paperback ISBN: 1590173597
The Outward Room is a rediscovered classic of American literature, a book about a young woman’s journey from madness to self-discovery that is as immediate and moving today as when it first appeared in 1937. Having suffered a nervous breakdown after her younger brother’s death in a car accident, Harriet Demuth has been committed to a mental hospital, where her doctor’s Freudian nostrums have done little to make her well. Convinced that she and she alone can refashion her life, Harriet makes a daring escape from the hospital—hopping a train by night and riding the rails into the vastness of New York City in the light of the rising sun. This is the 1930s, the midst of the Great Depression, and at first Harriet is lost among the city’s anonymous multitudes. She pawns her jewelry and is living an increasingly hand-to-mouth existence when she meets John, a machine-shop worker. Slowly Harriet begins to recover her sense of self; slowly she and John begin to fall in love. The story of that emerging love, told with the lyricism of Virginia Woolf and the realism of Theodore Dreiser, is the heart of Millen Brand’s remarkable book.
Paperback ISBN: 1590177614
"Totempole is Sanford Friedman's radical coming-of-age novel, featuring Stephen Wolfe, a young Jewish boy growing up in New York City and its environs during the Depression and war years. In eight discrete chapters, which trace Stephen's evolution from atwo-year-old boy to a twenty-two-year-old man, Friedman describes with psychological acuity and great empathy Stephen's intellectual, moral, and sexual maturation. Taught to abhor his body for the sake of his soul, Stephen finds salvation in the eventualunification of the two, the recognition that body and soul should not be partitioned but treated as one being, one complete man"--
Clark Gifford's Body
Paperback ISBN: 1590171829
Back in Print After Fifty Years “I have not developed the habit of reading thrillers, but I have read enough of them to know that from now on Mr. Fearing is my man.”–The New Yorker Is there such a thing as political noir? The Manchurian Candidate might qualify. So might some of the novels of Don DeLillo. But the precursor to them all is perhaps this next-to-unknown 1942 novel by the maverick master Kenneth Fearing, best known for his ingenious tale of detection, The Big Clock. Fearing’s title echoes that great anthem of the dispossessed, John Brown’s Body. But Clark Gifford is no John Brown. He is a disaffected politician in a nameless but thoroughly familiar media-driven modern state where representative politics has dwindled to the corrupt transaction of business as usual and a foreign war is always breaking out on the horizon. One night Gifford and some of his followers seize radio stations to broadcast a call for freedom. Nobody pays attention except the government. The troops quickly suppress the uprising and capture its leader–yet the rebellion will lead to twenty years of war. Fearing’s novel skips freely through those years, interspersing newspaper clippings and court transcripts with the reactions and reminiscences of the politicians, generals, businessmen, journalists, waiters, and soldiers who double as the actors and the chorus in a drama over which, finally, they have no control. Who here is leading? Who is being led? Fearing creates a pseudo-documentary of a world given over to pseudo-politics and pseudo-events, and all the more deadly for that. In such a world, a world far closer to the one we live in now than that of Orwell’s 1984, what counts is not the truth but the story that’s on record. Because in the end, as Fearing says, “the story alone is the true thing.” Out of print for over fifty years, Clark Gifford’s Body is a prophetic glimpse of the future as a poisonous fog.
Memoirs of Hecate County
Paperback ISBN: 1590170938
The long-suppressed memoir of sexual fantasy in a small town explores the quiet suburban world where sexual desire is in the air, focusing on the humorous story of a man caught up in several love affairs at once. Original.
The Mountain Lion
Paperback ISBN: 159017352x
Two kids growing up in a genteel suburb of Los Angeles, Ralph and his younger sister, Molly, are independent-minded and highly imaginative and more than a little wild. They have no patience with the evasive politeness and mincing words of their mother and older sisters, so they’re delighted when they’re sent for the summer to the Colorado mountain ranch of their uncle Claude. Initially the children feel liberated by this encounter with nature at its most ruggedly spectacular and demanding. Soon, however, Ralph begins to sense, not without anxiety, the call and challenge of impending manhood, while Molly, for her part, burns both with the ambition of becoming a writer and the fear of being left behind in childhood. Neither suspects that tragedy may be the cost of coming of age. Elaine Showalter recently wondered whether The Mountain Lion wasn’t simply the best American novel of the 1940s. Certainly this beautifully written novel about the death of innocence, with its two vulnerable and yet deeply appealing central characters and its gorgeous descriptions of the Rocky Mountains, is as gripping, offbeat, emotionally resonant, and plain heartbreaking today as when it first appeared more than half a century ago.
Other Men's Daughters
Paperback ISBN: 1681371510
“Until the day of Merriwether’s departure from the house—a month after his divorce—the Merriwether family looked like an ideally tranquil one” we read on the first page of Other Men’s Daughters. It is the late 1960s, and the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, are full of long-haired hippies decked out in colorful garb, but Dr. Robert Merriwether, who teaches at Harvard and has been married for a good long time, hardly takes note. Learned, curious, thoughtful, and a creature of habit, Merriwether is anything but an impulsive man, and yet over the summer, while Sarah, his wife, is away on vacation, he meets a summer student, Cynthia Ryder, and before long the two have fallen into bed and in love. Richard Stern’s novel is an elegant and unnerving examination of just how cold and destructive a thing love, “the origin of so much story and disorder,” can be.
Paperback ISBN: 1590178440
"Friendships are built on chatter, on gossip, on revelations--on talk. Over the course of the summer of 1965, Linda Rosenkrantz taped conversations between three friends (two straight, one gay) on the cusp of thirty vacationing at the beach: Emily, an actor; Vince, a painter; and Marsha, a writer. The result was Talk, a novel in dialogue. The friends are ambitious, conflicted, jealous, petty, loving, funny, sex- and shrink-obsessed, and there's nothing they won't discuss. Topics covered include LSD, fathers, exes, lovers, abortions, S&M, sculpture, books, cats, and of course, each other. Talk was ahead of its time in recognizing the fascination and significance of nonfamily ties in contemporary life. It may be almost fifty years since Emily, Vince, and Marsha spent the season in East Hampton, but they wouldn't be out of place on the set of Girls or in the pages of a novel like Sheila Heti's How Should a Person Be?"--
Testing the Current
Paperback ISBN: 1590176022
Growing up in a small upper Midwestern town in the late 1930s, young Tommy MacAllister is scarcely aware of the Depression, much less the rumblings of war in Europe. For his parents and their set, life seems to revolve around dinners and dancing at the country club, tennis dates and rounds of golf, holiday parties, summers on The Island, and the many sparkling occasions full of people and drinks and food and laughter. With his curiosity and impatience to grow up, however, Tommy will soon come to glimpse something darker beneath the genteel complacency: the embarrassment of poor relations; the subtle (and not so subtle) slighting of the black or American Indian “help