Thursday, April 18, 2013

'an exhilarating statement of intent from a young and ferociously talented writer'

'Among the (numerous) apocryphal stories about Lafferty is this one: like many young, bookish folks, he set out at one point to be a writer, even enrolling in a night class to augment his part-time study in electrical engineering, as well as the innumerable languages he taught himself. The writing teacher took a look over his stuff and told him, you might have something here, but you need to go live your life for 20 years or so, and then come back and try it again. Being a literal minded person (something I’ll explore further later on), Ray took the prof at his word and put aside his typewriter for a couple decades. Nothing survives from this earlier period—nothing, that is, except this unpublished novel,Antonino Vescovo, dated in Lafferty’s hand “ABOUT 1935 TO 1937”.'

-from the Lafferty blog Continue on Next Rock 

Andrew (the blogger of said blog) sums up:  'It is, in many ways, an exhausting book; certainly not one to read in a single sitting. But it’s also an exhilarating statement of intent from a young and ferociously talented writer; albeit one, like O’Brien, well ahead of his time.' 

(In his subsequent blog post, Andrew relates another fascinating detail of Lafferty's writing apprenticeship:  '1957 was the year when R.A. Lafferty returned to writing after a twenty-year hiatus. He submitted stories to several magazines (all rejections), enrolled in and completed a correspondence writing course, and also sent several stories to dubious fee-charging literary agencies in the hopes of gaining representation.')

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'It was all strong talk with the horns and hooves still on it.'
(R. A. Lafferty, The Devil is Dead)