Landscape with Traveler: The Pillow Book of Francis Reeves is Barry Gifford’s first full-length novel. In print for the first time in fifteen years, Landscape with Traveler is written as the protagonist's diary—inspired by the first century Japanese writer Sei Shōnagon’s pillow book—and structured as three acclaimed short novels bound into one volume. The book recounts the deep friendship between a middle-aged gay man and a young straight man through vignette-like entries, all the while tracing a history of the US from the 1930s through 1970s.
Laying bare the themes that have marked his lifelong career: a winsome, beat-inspired frenzy of love, a generation-defining crossroads in American history—the novel tells an honest story of a male homosexual life.
Introducing Three Cheers: a new feature on the Seven Stories Blog. In this feature, Seven Stories authors dish on three books that helped to mold them over the course of their careers. Check out Barry Gifford's choices below!
by Barry Gifford
Grande Sertao: Veredas (Translated into English as The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Harriet de Onis). Certainly the greatest of all Portuguese language novels, a truly transformative novel; a unique, surprising narrative that rivals Don Quixote for creativity and meaning. Written by Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazilian professor and diplomat.
The Adventures & Misadventures of Maqroll the Gaviereo (Translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman) by Alvaro Mutis, a Colombian raised in Belgium and Colombia and Mexico, best friend of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who called Mutis the finer writer. Marquez was correct: Mutis’s Maqroll novellas are the finest kind of literary adventures. A vastly underrated if not mostly unknown (in the English-speaking and -reading world) master of prose and poetry.
The Collected Novels of Jean Rhys Another mostly undervalued (and misinterpreted) writer. Her novels After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie and Good Morning, Midnight (quote from Emily Dickinson, I believe) are especially good. She did not waste words: taught me how to be concise and direct without sacrificing intent and meaning. Hated being taken up in 1960s and ‘70s by feminists—resented is better word. Once a mistress of Ford Madox Ford’s, she picked up on what the big guns of the ‘20s and ‘30s had to say (Hemingway, Conrad, Pound, et al) and in my opinion outdid them all—except maybe Conrad.