Three Masquerades: Novellas by Rachel Ingalls
Selected and Introduced by Daniel Handler
5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00
Paperback, 208 pages
Daniel Handler assembled this collection from Rachel Ingalls’ wide selection of novellas as a perfect introduction to her beguiling talent.
I See a Long Journey and On Ice, novellas Mr. Handler considers basically perfect, originally appeared with a third, Blessed Art Thou, a story he considers to be in an entirely different tone. He felt that Friends in the Country from Ms. Ingalls’ later collection, The End of Tragedy, was a more natural companion to the two earlier works. The author happily agreed.
I See a Long Journey introduces us to Flora who is induced by her husband, James, to take a vacation only because his chauffeur Michael, custodian of their persons and their purse, will accompany them. Things, as they so often do in Ingalls’ world, will go appalling awry.
Friends in the Country wherein a young couple drive outside of London for a Friday dinner and find themselves trapped for the weekend in a manner that surpasses Stephen King, if not in outright horror then certainly in subtlety and suggestiveness.
On Ice finds Beverley with her fiancé at an elegant hotel where she is introduced to a grande dame whose funeral Beverley’s convinced she had witnessed 10 years before.
“So deft and austere in its prose, so drolly casual in its fantasy…” – John Updike
“In all these novellas, the gait is easy, as casual masks are stripped away and the unconscious Furies rush in to claim their prey. Ingalls is a superlative writer, careful in her craft and awesome in her effects.” – LA Times, 1986
“Shortly after beginning each of the novellas in this remarkable collection, I was seized with a haunting conviction that I was reading works I would not easily forget.” – Joseph Heller
“Rachel Ingalls ‘ elegantly written tales mix reality and fantasy in surprising ways, casting a dark light on the conventions of our lives, our ideas about marriage, youth and age . . . she deserves to be as well-known in America as she is in England.” — Alison Laurie
“She is one of the most interesting stylists anywhere, having distilled a prose that makes Hemingway prolix, and taking for her subject that moment when the ordinary collides with the metaphysical … Her Fables … make that fabulous plausible.” — The Boston Globe
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The Big Why by Michael Winter by Kim Stafford
Selected and Introduced by Patrick de Witt
5.5” x 8.25”, $18.00
Paperback, 384 pages
A unique historical (and uniquely hysterical) novel based on a year in the life of the great American Artist and Illustrator Rockwell Kent. A year he spent trying to establish a home for himself and his young family in Newfoundland.
Michael Winter’s The Big Why takes the tradition of the historical novel and twists it into the cool, sinuous, entertaining shape we’ve all been waiting for. His characters are real and from the past, but the lives they live feel contemporary and emotionally modern.
Winter’s version of the American artist Rockwell Kent is an over aged, erotically fleckless Huck Finn ready to leave the superficial art world of New York and light out for the territory. Only he heads the wrong way: north and east to Brigus, Newfoundland, before and at the beginning of World War One. A socialist and a philanderer, certain in the greatness of his work, he is drawn north by a fascination for the rocky Atlantic coast and by the example of Brigus’ other well-known resident, fabled Arctic explorer Robert Bartlett. But once in Newfoundland, Kent discovers that notoriety is even easier to achieve in a small town than in New York. As events come to a head both internationally and domestically and the war begins, Kent becomes a polarizing figure in this intimate, impoverished community, where everyone knows everyone and any outsider is suspect, possibly even a German spy.
Writing in Kent’s voice, Michael Winter delivers a passionate, witty, and cerebral exploration of what makes exceptional individuals who they are–and why.
“Michael Winter’s The Big Why is a superb novel with grandeur of emotional depth. This is an important book nearly to the point of cruelty, wherein the struggle between an individual and his wife and the larger community remind us again of the immense value of literature.” – Jim Harrison
“A Bravely written novel that shatters the spine of historical fiction” –Michael Ondaatje
“[T]his is a highly entertaining and ultimately profound novel of a quixotic man who reveres nature’s awful beauty.”- Kirkus (starred review)
“[An] exceptionally fine novel … Winter brilliantly exposes his subject’s inner life while at the same time revealing Newfoundland and the inhabitants of Brigus to be just as idiosyncratic as the artist who is observing them.” –The Boston Globe
“Think Henry James filtered through James Ellroy.” –The Buffalo News
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