Synopses & Reviews
First published in 1968, In the Heart of the Heart of the Country established William Gass as one of America’s finest and boldest writers of fiction, and nearly fifty years later, the book still stands as a landmark of contemporary fiction. The two novellas and three short stories it contains are all set in the Midwest, and together they offer a mythical reimagining of America’s heartland, with its punishing extremes of heat and cold, its endless spaces and claustrophobic households, its hidden and baffled desires, its lurking threat of violence. Exploring and expanding the limits of the short story, Gass works magic with words, words that are as squirming, regal, and unexpected as the roaches, boys, icicles, neighbors, and neuroses that fill these pages, words that shock, dazzle, illumine, and delight.
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country
is vintage William H. Gass: two novellas and three short stories, set in the Midwest, exhibiting Gass’s characteristic and wildly original verbal brilliance and philosophical acuity. The volume includes The Pedersen Kid,
a story originally published a few years before the 1965 publication of Gass’s first novel Omensetter’s Luck
Words populate these stories, as squirming, regal, and unexpected as the roaches, boys, icicles, neighbors, neuroses, and properties they describe. No matter how strange or estranged the human consciousness directing each symphony of words, his or her fear, delight, and disgust is uncanny and familiar.
About the Author
William H. Gass is an American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, critic, and emeritus professor of philosophy. His first novel, Omensetter’s Luck
, was published in 1966 and since then he has published several more works of fiction, including The Tunnel
and Middle C
. He has also published collections of essays, including On Being Blue
(available from NYRB Classics), Fiction and the Figures of Life
, and Life Sentences
, and has received many awards and honors.
Joanna Scott's forthcoming novel is De Potter's Grand Tour. Her other books include the novels Arrogance, The Manikin, Follow Me, and the collections Various Antidotes and Everybody Loves Somebody.