Re: RARA-AVIS: Newton Thornburg

From: Terrill Lankford (
Date: 21 Nov 2007

-----Original Message-----
>From: John Williams <>
>Sent: Nov 21, 2007 11:40 AM
>Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Newton Thornburg
>Um, actually at Serpent's Tail we have reissued Cutter & Bone, To Die In
>California and Dreamland, they're all readily available from Amazon on
>both sides of the pond. We've stopped at those three as, to my mind,
>they're his three noir classics. And, let's face it, we chickened out of
>reissuing either the future race-war novel Valhalla, or the incestuous
>romance, Beautiful Kate! Of the rest, his first novel Gentleman Born is
>an interesting autobiographical coming of age novel, Knockover is a
>decent heist novel and Black Angus a good but depressing book about farm
>failure. The Lion at The Door is an OK noir but anything after that I
>recall as disappointing, no doubt due to his failing health.
>Ah I've just remembered I wrote Thornburg's entry for the St James
>encyclopedia. I've pasted it below if anyone's interested.

John, glad to see Serpent's Tale has done their bit in keeping Thornburg's work alive. Valhalla and Beautiful Kate are the two books of his I've yet to read (but now I'm interested). Guess I'll have to hit ABE.

Terrific write up for the encyclopedia. From what I've read of his personal life over the years (which has been very little) he seems to have had a great life haunted by tragedy. Just like one of his books.

I also like the two books he wrote after your entry was prepared, A MAN'S GAME and EVE'S MEN. You're right that they weren't up to the standards of his best work, but I still enjoyed them.

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