THE COLLECTED STORIES OF WILLIAM GOYEN by William Goyen

THE COLLECTED STORIES OF WILLIAM GOYEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Thirty years and 26 short stories of William Goyen, nineteen of them previously published in Ghost and Flesh and The Faces of Blood Kindred. Several of the best among them--""The White Rooster,"" ""The Letter in the Cedarchest,"" ""Figure Over the Town""--also appeared in last year's Selected Writings of William Goyen. Sometimes his narrator is a traveling man gone up north to New York City (where Goyen was a book editor for many years) or over to Europe, but it takes only the slightest suggestion, say a glimpse of a ""Moss Rose"" on an urban sidewalk, to carry him home to East Texas. He says in his preface that ""for me, story telling is a rhythm. . . this pulse that beats in the material of life."" He has taken the ringing speech of his kith and kin and created out of it a style, a place, a state of mind that is distinctly Goyen country. The impetus for his writing, he admits, is homesickness. Which may account for the mournful, crooning tone he adopts, as well as the recurring thematic search for ""The Faces of Blood Kindred."" Orphans abound--like the son of ""Pore Perrie"" doomed to wander yet always return--as do ghosts and every manner of enchanted being. Goyen's community of barely literate folk continually defy their own down-to-earth gravity (like Flagpole Moody whose forty-day vigil is a mystery to all and sundry). Sisters, husbands and children alternately are starved or stifled in their bonds and all would concur with the pensive grandson of ""Old Wildwood"" who learns ""how melancholy and grand the history of relations was."" These are hypnotic tales, indeed they seem almost somniloquous, as if the memories of childhood had to be enshrined by an increase of out-of-time otherworldliness. This book is Goyen's gift to his people and his inheritance.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1975
Publisher: Doubleday