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A presentation of John Hawkes' shorter fiction--six short stories, two short novels, one novella, written from the 1940's to 1963. The work of this extraordinary writer is a bafflement. In a style that seems to be attuned to some pristine primeval vision sunk in the accumulated blood passages of mankind, Hawkes pursues his icy necrophilia. His characters are often maimed, dying, fluttering on a desert of ""cold dust"" and dreams. In the novella, Charivari, assaulted by nuptial clatter from ancestors, guests and a bad fairy, the bridal pair utter their strangulated distress like uncertain pupae. A doomsday ""Expositor"" proclaims of the bride, ""You are almost a live thing"" and says to the groom: ""your voice will die in the ice."" In the remarkable short novel, The Goose on the Grave, the ""dogs of unrest"" pound by as a boy, a murderer, a victim and a priest pursue the bloody core of death. And home is a dream country of the sea to which a man comes and is ever leaving. With a cadenced animism that discovers the releasing word within the thing, the gesture, Hawkes is probably the most unique stylist today, but his perceptions are so private, so circumscribed, that he will probably continue to be read only by a special audience.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1969
Publisher: New Directions