Southern Nights

Southern Nights

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford

A collection of three of Gifford's wildest and weirdest Southern gothic novelsBarry Gifford's three Southern Gothic novels, Night People, Arise and Walk, and Baby Cat-Face, may be among the weirdest and best of Gifford's novels for their sheer velocity—the copious, raw violence; the invented religions and gods that make people do things; and how the horrors somehow cohabit—affably—with the genuine pathos and loveliness of the unforgettable characters that live in these books and the things they say so easily that we've never heard anyone say before. God in these Southern Nights is only another possibly deranged near relative, cast in the only nonspeaking part in this human drama. Everyone else talks and talks. And it's the dialogue in these novels that make them some of Gifford's best, reminders of the author's seemingly unlimited range and versatility, a comic-tragic genius for our time. As a character in Night People...
Read online
  • 546
Writers

Writers

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford

In Writers, great American storyteller Barry Gifford paints portraits of famous writers caught in imaginary vulnerable moments in their lives. In prose that is funny, grotesque, and a touch brutal, Gifford shows these writers at their most human, which is to say at their worst: they are liars, frauds, lousy lovers, and drunks. This is a world in which Emily Dickinson remains an unpublished poet, Ernest Hemingway drunkenly sets explosive trip wires outside his home in Havana, Marcel Proust implores the angel of death as a delirious Arthur Rimbaud lies dying in a hospital bed, and Albert Camus converses with a young prostitute while staring at himself in the mirror of a New York City hotel room.In Gifford's house of mirrors, we are offered a unique perspective on this group of literary greats. We see their obsessions loom large, and none more than a shared needling preoccupation with mortality. And yet these stories, which are meant to be performed as plays, are also...
Read online
  • 72
The Roy Stories

The Roy Stories

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford has been writing gritty, American tales for the past forty years. His novels, stories, poetry, and films have helped shape the American neo-noir genre. The *New York Times Book Review *says that he, "can sum up in a few words the cruelty, horror, and crushing banality that shape an entire life.”Andrei Codrescu calls Gifford “a great comic realist,” while Pedro Almodóvar likens him to the surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel, and Jonathan Lethem describes his style as “William Faulkner by way of B-movie film noir, porn paperbacks, and Sun Records rockabilly.”In The Roy Stories Gifford brings his signature style to a collection of tales following the character of Roy, who has made appearances in a number of Gifford’s previous story collections. Roy lives a mystical kind of life, skinning crocodiles in Southern Florida at age nine in the 1940s and playing in the back alleys of Chicago in the 1950s. This deep-feeling boy observes every detail in his surroundings with a sense of dark humor and an openness that will clutch readers tightly by the heart and lead them on a historical journey.
Read online
  • 71

Landscape With Traveler

Landscape With Traveler

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford's first full-length novel is an unusual, captivating exploration into the life of a single man. Written in the form used by the classic Japanese writer Sei Shonagon in her Pillow Book - short, essayistic stories or tales woven around a central moral - this landscape is the self-portrait of a man, who, often swept away by passion in his youth, approaches his later years with increasing distance and an almost Zen-like tranquility.
Read online
  • 69
Wyoming

Wyoming

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford

A subtle, impeccably rendered new novel from one of America's most distinctive writers.A woman and her young son are traveling together by car through the southern and midwestern United States in the mid-to-late 1950s. As the mother drives, she and the boy, Roy, talk about their lives, their disappointments, and their dreams. "Wyoming" exists as a state of mind rather than an actual place, a place neither the boy nor his mother have ever been, an idyll where the two of them can live an untroubled life. Told entirely in dialogue, the story of Roy and his mother traverses both real and imaginary states of being, on a tour through an uncertain but hopeful landscape of longing and myth. As Roy's mother tells him, "Everybody needs Wyoming."Combining a spare and elegant style with profound and clear-eyed feeling, Wyoming is the most sensitive and touching work of Barry Gifford's brilliant career.From Publisher's WeeklyProlific novelist (Wild at Heart) and screenwriter (Lost Highway) Gifford delivers a sedate story written almost entirely in meandering dialogue between a mother and her precocious nine-year-old son, Roy. The book takes place in the mid-1950s as Kitty and Roy drive across the American South and Midwest. Traveling from place to place, rarely leaving the car, they try to pass time in idle, soft-focus banter about their hopes and disappointments, occasionally musing about such big topics as fate, personal loss, divorce, death and the soul. The background unfolds: Kitty has left Roy's dishonest father, whose health is failing, while Roy craves reassurances that both parents still love him. But content mirrors form in that, just as the two never arrive at any final destination, their desultory conversations rarely resolve issues or discover anything new; and the novel's brief, episodic chapters ensure that no subject is dealt with profoundly or in full. Action is generally light (a train passes, a road curves, a hotel room is dirty), but even when more dramatic events happen (i.e., Roy's father takes a turn for the worse), the voices of mother and son are sometimes indistinguishable and their reminiscences and longings are so vague and personal as to be irrelevant. The pair seem lost, both on their journey and in lax, unremarkable conversation, leaving the reader to wonder why Gifford won't give them a bit more gas, a few more twists in the road and, above all, some direction. Line drawings by Gifford throughout.
Read online
  • 58
The Cuban Club

The Cuban Club

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford

A masterpiece of mood and setting, character and remembrance, The Cuban Club is Barry Gifford's ultimate coming-of-age story told as sixty-four linked tales, a creation myth of the Fall as seen through the eyes of an innocent child on the cusp of becoming an innocent man. Set in Chicago in the 1950s and early 1960s against the backdrop of small-time hoodlums in the Chicago mob and the girls and women attached to them, there is the nearness of heinous crimes, and the price to be paid for them. To Roy and his friends, these twists and tragedies drift by like curious flotsam. The tales themselves are koan-like, often ending in questions, with rarely a conclusion. The story that closes the book is in the form of a letter from Roy to his father four years after his father's death, but written as if he were still alive. Indeed, throughout The Cuban Club Roy is still in some doubt whether divorce or even death really exists in a world where everything seems so alive and...
Read online
  • 40
Sailor & Lula

Sailor & Lula

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford

On the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Barry Gifford's international bestseller, Wild at Heart, as well as the anniversary of the Palme d'Or--winning film adaptation by director David Lynch, Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels presents all of the novels and novellas that comprise the saga of Sailor Ripley and Lula Pace Fortune, "the Romeo and Juliet of the South": Wild at Heart, Perdita Durango (also made into a feature film), Sailor's Holiday, Sultans of Africa, Consuelo's Kiss, Bad Day for the Leopard Man, and The Imagination of the Heart.
Read online
  • 39

The Up-Down

The Up-Down

Barry Gifford

Barry Gifford

A novel of violence, of love, and introspection, The Up-Down follows a man who leaves home and all that's familiar, finds true love, loses it, and finds it again. Pace's voyage is outward, among strangers, and inward into the fifth direction that is the up-down, in a sweeping, voracious human tale that takes no prisoners, witnesses extreme brutalities and expresses a childlike amazement. Here the route goes from New Orleans, to Chicago to Wyoming to Bay St. Clement, North Carolina, but the geography he is charting is always first and foremost unchartable.From the Hardcover edition.
Read online
  • 20