Reapers of the Dust: A Prairie Chronicle by Lois Phillips Hudson
Selected and Introduced by David GutersonISBN: 9781940436159 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 320 pages
Lois Phillips Hudson is recognized as a major chronicler of America’s agricultural heartland during the grim years of the Great Depression. Reapers of the Dust, now reprinted for a new generation of readers, vividly evokes that difficult time. From Hudson’s childhood in North Dakota spring these unusual, moving stories of simple, joyful days, of continuing battles with hostile elements, and of a family’s new life as migrant workers on the West Coast.
While drawn from her own experiences growing up in North Dakota and migrating west during the Dust Bowl Diaspora, these stories are beautifully imagined and exquisitely rendered. Hudson was well ahead of her time in the ways in which she blends reality and imagination and in so doing blurs the boundaries of each in ways that would become common practice among writers in the generations following her. Her characters seem so real precisely because they are so perfectly crafted. Hudson’s experience certainly colors their world and shapes their character but they come fully and vividly alive only through the power of her art.
“Hudson Writes with grace and beauty and an abiding understanding of the meaning of those bitter, tragic years.” – Chicago Tribune
A German Picturesque by Jason Schwartz
Selected and Introduced by Ben MarcusISBN: 9781940436173 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00
Paperback, 133 pages
Haunting in their tone, brilliant in their images–very like fantastic presences moving across glass–the twenty-one fictions in this startling debut collection seem both inexplicably familiar and like no writing we have seen before.
The opening story leads us through a kaleidoscopic series of thoughts and memories around the act of writing a letter. Another, an intricately structured document of documents–household inventories, daily calendars, property deeds, an announcement – suggests the reality overflowing these mundane markers of our lives. Yet another traces the histories of five artifacts, while at the same time slyly assembling five miniature biographical portraits.
An exhilarating experiment in language and form, A German Picturesque is at once a challenge and a great pleasure to read.
“Unlike much so-called experimental fiction, Schwartz’s work contains genuine passion and invention – and an enormous appetite for challenging himself and his audience.” – New York Times
The Dead Girl by Melanie Thernstrom
Selected and Introduced by David Shields
Melanie Thernstrom’s senior thesis was entitled Mistakes of Metaphor, an account of the mysterious disappearance and murder of her best friend, Bibi Lee. That thesis, reworked as The Dead Girl, was published by Pocket Books in 1990 to major critical acclaim.
Berkeley student Roberta (Bibi) Lee went running with her lover Bradley Page on a Sunday in 1984. He came back alone. When she failed to return police mounted one of the largest missing-person searches in California history. Five weeks later Roberta’s battered body was found and within hours, Page had confessed to Roberta’s murder—a confession he was later to recant. With its enduring themes of innocence and evil, truth and uncertainty, human motives and emotions, The Dead Girl is a complex exploration of the nature of reality and the frail, shifting and suspect ways in which we respond to it.
“I like this book better than In Cold Blood. It is more honest, more credible, more frightening, and more instructive.” – Harold Brodkey
Selected and Introduced by Cheryl StrayedISBN: 978-0-9881725-9-3 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 167 pages
In selecting The Lists of the Past as her nomination for reissue by Pharos Editions, Cheryl Strayed was moved by “the intelligent, emotional depth and breadth” of the stories, all but two of which originally appeared in the New Yorker. Hayden’s New York hums with eccentric observation, humor and grit. Her leisurely Connecticut countryside is fresh with tilled soil, distant lapping waves and the summer breeze. Whether describing a child astonished with new perceptions, a distraught woman walking on Fifth Avenue with her concealed liquor flask, or a pair of lovers on a country picnic, her writing is ardent and precise, placing us at the center of her characters lives and destinies. Her masterful voice and distinctive clarity show us the often concealed ways our pain and joy turn into knowledge.
“Hayden has a sharp eye, unexpectedly at the service of a tender heart; in her stories are innumerable sentences that will make you smile, many sentences that will make you laugh aloud, and at least one sentence that even the most cynical readers will be unable to finish without tears.” —Brendan Gill
The Tattooed Heart & My Name Is Rose by Theodora Keogh
Selected and Introduced by Lidia YuknavitchISBN: 978-1-940436-01-2 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 321 pages
Two short novels of lust, love and the intimacies of an examined life by one of the 20th century’s most overlooked prose stylists.
The Tattooed Heart (1953)
June Grey spends a green and dreaming summer alone with her grandmother in a large isolated house at Grey’s Neck on the Long Island shore. Around the house are wooded hills that give down to beach and sea, and in these woods June meets the boy Ronny, younger than herself and still firmly anchored in the fantasies of childhood which June is on the point of leaving. Eventually the youngsters become cruelly caught up in the complicated motives and desires of their elders.
My Name Is Rose (1956)
Written partly in the form of a journal and partly in conventional narrative, Theodora Keogh’s novel is a kind of ‘examination of conscience,’ by a young wife whose marriage is breaking up after seven years. Original in its perceptions, strong in story, and clearly written in a highly personal idiom which gives all Theodora Keogh’s work a mysterious and pulsating quality which is the sign of life.
“[Keogh] writes with a skill and command of her material that should set her promptly into the ranks of the finer young writers of today.” —Patricia Highsmith Saturday Review, 1950
Total Loss Farm: A Year in the Life by Raymond Mungo
Selected and Introduced by Dana SpiottaISBN: 978-1-940436-03-6 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 161 pages
A year in the life of a back-to-the-land hippie commune in late 60’s rural Vermont.
Total Loss Farm attracted widespread attention, critical and commercial success in 1970, when the “back to the land” hippie commune movement first emerged. The book’s first section, “Another Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers,” appeared in its entirety as the cover article of the May 1970 edition of Atlantic Monthly.
The hardcover first edition from Dutton was quickly followed by paperback editions from Bantam, Avon, and Madrona Publishers, keeping the book in print for several decades. Very recently, Dwight Garner in the New York Times Book Review cited Total Loss Farm as “the best and also the loopiest of the commune books.”
Author Raymond Mungo was a founder of this Vermont commune after co-founding the Liberation News Service in Washington, DC in the late 1960′s Of his many books, the first two, Famous Long Ago (currently is used as a college textbook in History of the Sixties classes at NYU, Harvard, Georgia State, and other schools) and Total Loss Farm, have often been described as iconic for their generation.
Crazy Weather by Charles L. McNichols
Selected and Introduced by Ursula K. Le GuinISBN: 978-1-940436-05-0 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 188 pages
In four days of “glory-hunting” with an Indian comrade, South Boy, who is white, realizes that he must choose between two cultures. Crazy Weather is a unique, much-revered young adult tale of American identity that serves as “an important document in our cultural history.”
“Crazy Weather belongs with our best beloved stories of a boy’s growing up. But it is a story for adults in every sense of the word. . . . McNichols belongs in the great tradition of storytellers.” —New York Herald Tribune
“Crazy Weather is an important document in our cultural history.” —Western American Literature
Inside Moves by Todd Walton
Selected and Introduced by Sherman AlexieISBN: 9780988172517 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 180 pages
Jerry Maxwell and his good friend Roary are both handicapped. They divide their time between Max’s bar in San Francisco and the bleachers of the Oakland Sports Complex to cheer on the Golden State Warriors. Together the two set out to make Jerry’s dream of playing professional basketball a reality.
“The greatest basketball novel ever written.” - Sherman Alexie, author of Blasphemy, War Dances, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
McTeague: A Story of San Francisco by Frank Norris
Selected and Introduced by Jonathan EvisonISBN: 9780988172524 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 335 pages
A poor dentist scrapes by in 19th century San Francisco. When his wife Trina wins $5,000 in the lottery, the pair set in motion a shocking chain of events that take them from riches to rags and, finally, to murder.
“A gritty, vitriolic rant, a novel with hair on it, a goddamn magnificent bastard of a novel.” – Jonathan Evison, author of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, West of Here, and All About Lulu
You Play the Black and the Red Comes Up by Richard Hallas (Eric Knight)
Selected and Introduced by Matt GroeningISBN: 9780988172500 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 180 pages
Dick is a Depression-era drifter searching for his son and runaway wife in the seedy underbelly of 1930′s Los Angeles. You Play the Black was a bestseller when originally published in 1938 and is a noir classic.
“A whiplash ride with major plot reversals on almost every page. [You Play the Black] is sheer joyful amoral absurdity.” – Matt Groening, award-winning creator of The Simpsons and Futurama
The Land of Plenty by Robert Cantwell
Selected and Introduced by Jess WalterISBN: 9780988172562 5.5” x 8.25”, $16.00 Paperback, 357 pages
A strike at a lumber mill in a sleepy Washington town pits bosses against workers in this gripping epic of American labor. Land of Plenty created a political firestorm when it was published to great success in 1935. Long out-of-print, one of the most graphically exciting novels of the Thirties and a lost classic of American history is available again through Pharos Editions.
“The novel’s dialogue could have been uttered yesterday. Written in powerful, plain-spoken prose, its tough realism and psychological acuity hums with authenticity.” – Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins, We Live in Water, and The Financial Lives of the Poets