This was the author's second novel, the first "House of Breath" having been much admired and gaining him several prizes. It tells of a half-American, half-Spanish woman through whom a group of wandering people find a revelation of themselves. It was well received, something which does always happen with second novels after a first has been hugely successful.
Charles William Goyen (1915-1983) was an American novelist, short story writer, play- wright, poet, editor, and teacher. Born in a small town in East Texas, his roots would always influence his work. He never achieved commercial success in America, but his translated work was highly regarded in Europe, where he is considered "a writer's writer". His East Texas origins and early childhood heavily influenced the speech patterns and cultural characteristics used in his writings, which are marked by the rhythms of rural speech, the Bible, and a sense of story and place. His style has been compared to Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, and Gabriel García Márquez. Critics have tried to define his style with labels such as Southern, Southern Gothic, modernist, postmodernist, contemporary, and magical realist, but Goyen insisted that his work should be considered outside any genre: "I'm really not very interested in contemporary fiction, anyway. I consider my fiction absolutely separate and apart from and unrelated to "contemporary American fiction."
Our book is in good condition, with a good (clipped) dust jacket showing only general grubbiness (and some foxing), with only minimal rubbing or other wear. The book itself, bound in light green/grey cloth with gilt title etc on the spine, appears in almost 'as new' condition, apart from one small whitish mark at the top of the back cover. Inside, the binding is firm with no loose pages; all pages clean and bright apart from a bluish mark at the angle between pp.46 and 47 (see photo), which looks like inky finger marks. A tiny brown mark on the front pastedown has an equally tiny lump underneath, and is mirrored by an even smaller mark on the fep. There is no rear fep - the final printed page performs this function, and has, at the top, a series of numbers to intrigue the reader; possibly catalogue numbers? One can only speculate.