Bloody chunks butchered from Payne’s Youth in Revolt by an unfeeling and venal Doubleday editor.
Doubleday’s abridged Youth in Revolt (1995) was a massive chop job on Payne’s self-published 1993 version (3,000 hardbacks, now fetching a neat rare-book price), which in itself was into a small-print, 500-page, one-volume condensation of three Nick Twisp novels totaling 1,000 pages. A fourth volume, Revolting Youth: The Further Journals of Nick Twisp, was also self-published last year. Doubleday apparently was unwilling to render plastic surgery once more and passed on this unsure moneymaker. All this must be held in mind when giving thought to buying Cut to the Twisp, which tells no story but merely supplies the trimmed-out passages to fans groaning for Nick’s lost passages but finding the original edition unavailable. This is not a book to buy without already having the Doubleday version; otherwise you will simply be stirring “mystery animal parts” (as the mighty Twisp says in another context) on your plate. Still, should you care to read a book composed of dropped paragraphs and brief passages that in themselves have only cryptic suggestions as to their narrative muscle or marrow, be Nick’s guest for this revolutionary mode of storytelling. Also on hand is a clutch of snippets that collect Payne’s humor pieces of the past two decades, ripped from sources too frail to identify. (Perhaps his bottom desk drawer?) These include a disquisition on apt modes of suicide for poets: hemp rope, leather belt, beheading (cf. Mishima), and so on. Others, such as “The Visitation” and “Let Us All Write a Sophisticated Love Scene,” can be quite amusing.
Now that Payne has hooked up with Hollywood’s Farrelly brothers (slated to produce the film version of his Frisco Pigeon Mambo, 2000), maybe he can finally get some respect for Twisp as well.