SELECTED WRITINGS OF WILLIAM GOYEN by William Goyen

SELECTED WRITINGS OF WILLIAM GOYEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Although rather puzzlingly subtitled ""Eight Favorites by a Master American Storyteller,"" these ten pieces have been selected from three of Goyen's novels, two collections of short stories and the closing piece about Flagpole Moody, symbol, saint and sinner in the town, is from an ""uncollected"" work. Goyen is a Southern regional writer best known from the '50's and '60's and perhaps more acknowledged than rewarded for his considerable gifts -- a certain nostalgic magnetism, humor and sadness hand in hand, a style glinting and rushing from image to image, and a small world full of stubborn, quirky characters and unshriven superstitions. The stuff then of both realism and the imagination. Passages from The House of Breath (perhaps his best known novel) are the most lyrical and evanescent (""For we are only breath to blow and bridge eternal ruins while we breathe, until we are blown away""). Death is a constant presence -- like Raymon Emmons who ""walked right through a winda and tore hisself all to smithereens"" -- from Ghost and Flesh along with the wicked, unregenerate old Grandpa Samuels, in a wheelchair, and his final contest against a white rooster. Or the touching vigil of a country woman over ""The Road Runner in Woolworth's' -- the bird that is to be sold as a macaw. . . . ""All is just a sharin of ghosts and flesh"" -- and his admirers will be glad to confront again these revenants of the past -- that past which was perhaps the most enduring character of any of his works.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1974
Publisher: Random House-Bookworks