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Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers. Has no one read your books? You are in good company.

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Invisible Stories (SS)
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Posts tagged Stanley Crawford

It’s unlikely that your somewhat erratic editors at Writers No One Reads will be able to provide a massive 2014 Book Preview in the near future, but in the meantime, possibly more to allay our own concerns in that regard than yours, we will, as should be expected, erratically share what we’re reading.

Originally published in 1969, Stanley Crawford’s Travel Notes has been out of print for decades until being rescued from oblivion by Calamari Press. Travel Notes is a strange novel capable of making any reader feel the surreality of being a tourist. It’s a work of baroque imagination, full of invention and absurdity: there is a linguist whose invented word has the capacity to destroy the world; a conspiracy of mail carriers in an abandoned city; a seaside resort where the beaches are lined with mausoleums; an oxymoronic line of hermit janitors… In the end, the book proves to be more than the sum of its parts, making it a welcome addition to Crawford’s sadly unread body of work. (SS)

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I wish more people read Stanley Crawford, whose novel The Log of the S.S. The Mrs. Unguentine is best summed up by Ben Marcus in his preface to the Dalkey Archive edition of the book:

Architectural  dreamwork, end-times seascapes so barren they seem cut from the pages  of the Bible, coolly-rendered Rube Goldberg apparati, and the crushing  sadness that results when you tie your emotional fortunes to a person  whose tongue is so fat in his mouth he can barely speak, mark this  little masterpiece of a novel. Cast as a soliloquy in the form of a  ship’s log, a grief report from someone who has no good insurance she  will ever be heard, the novel moves fluidly between its major forms:  love song, a treatise on gardening at sea, an argument against the  company of others, and a dark science expo for exquisite inventions like  a hybrid lichen that makes things invisible. Published by Alfred A.  Knopf under the editorial guidance of Gordon Lish, the fiction world’s  singular Quixote—a champion of innovative styles and formal  ambition—there may have been no better year [1972] in which to tuck such an  odd, exquisite book. Instead of rushing for relevance and breaking the  news, Crawford was taking the oldest news of all—it is strange and alone  here, even when we are surrounded by people, and there is a great  degree of pain to be felt—and reporting it as nautical confessional. The  result, now thirty-six years later, seems to prove that interior news,  the news of what it feels like to want too much from another person, will not readily smother under archival dust.

I wish more people read Stanley Crawford, whose novel The Log of the S.S. The Mrs. Unguentine is best summed up by Ben Marcus in his preface to the Dalkey Archive edition of the book:

Architectural dreamwork, end-times seascapes so barren they seem cut from the pages of the Bible, coolly-rendered Rube Goldberg apparati, and the crushing sadness that results when you tie your emotional fortunes to a person whose tongue is so fat in his mouth he can barely speak, mark this little masterpiece of a novel. Cast as a soliloquy in the form of a ship’s log, a grief report from someone who has no good insurance she will ever be heard, the novel moves fluidly between its major forms: love song, a treatise on gardening at sea, an argument against the company of others, and a dark science expo for exquisite inventions like a hybrid lichen that makes things invisible. Published by Alfred A. Knopf under the editorial guidance of Gordon Lish, the fiction world’s singular Quixote—a champion of innovative styles and formal ambition—there may have been no better year [1972] in which to tuck such an odd, exquisite book. Instead of rushing for relevance and breaking the news, Crawford was taking the oldest news of all—it is strange and alone here, even when we are surrounded by people, and there is a great degree of pain to be felt—and reporting it as nautical confessional. The result, now thirty-six years later, seems to prove that interior news, the news of what it feels like to want too much from another person, will not readily smother under archival dust.