SIX ANGELS AT MY BACK by John Bell Clayton


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Report repeated from the February 1st bulletin, as follows; this is a test of paper editions at this price and no cloth edition is planned. ""*Starred for distinction, not for saleability, this extraordinary first novel marks a newcomer in the Faulkner-hemingway tradition. In sparse, moving prose, Clayton tells a first person story of a oor white Florida 'cracker' whose limitations kept him bound to a life of frustration and inevitable tragic and which has its own nobility. Ed, who tells the story, his buddy Turkey, and Mae, who chose Turkey for a mate because he promised her more, eke out an existence on the ragged edge of nothingness in a shack on the Gulf of Mexico. Just over the horizon they see visions and dream of owning a sleek convertible, of doing the night clubs of Miami, of living in a mansion where the chandeliers drip pseudo diamonds. But Turkey's lent temper- despite Ed's more moderate control- keeps them moving from one shabby job to another, with intervals of getting bare subsistence from the mud flats at low tide. Mae is a gadfly. She spurs them on to momentary ambition. She helps them spend occasional small windfalls. She tantalizes Ed to almost betraying Turkey. She irritates them to the point of their getting themselves into really serious trouble in the hope of a quick 'fortune'. And at the last, when Ed recognizes the hopelessness of the impasse, the inevitability of a violent and, he choosen a way out that saves Turkey and Mae and marks finis for himself Explosive material here, handled with restraint, sensitivity, and a sort of gic beauty. But it needs word-of-mouth enthusiasm.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1952
Publisher: Macmillan