Ten years after it was first announced, The Lost Country is to be released on June 10, 2018 from Dzanc Books. I began work on this book in 2014. At the time, I was told I was the fourth or fifth person to read the first rough manuscript. What an honor and ultimate gift for a fan like me.
A couple of days ago, I received my advance hardcover copy. It was an emotional moment to take the book in my hands and feel its weight. All the time working on the manuscript, all the worry about making it right for William. And here it is. I hope everyone agrees it is the masterpiece we feel it is.
Many thanks, William. I hope we did you proud.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE LOST COUNTRY
“The language and the imagery Gay uses is so vividly haunting that I want to savor it all. Definitely a must-read for fans of Southern Literature.”
—Catherine Bock, Parnassus Books
“Like so many fans of Gay's, I've been waiting to read this seemingly mythical work, The Lost Country, for quite some time....Gay's elegiac prose sings once again as he breathes life into his characters and mines his patch of soil with the skill of the old masters. The Lost Country is the story of Billy Edgewater and his hard journey through a post World War II South filled with the downtrodden—hucksters, racists, drunks, bad or lost men and women, all trying to make it in a harsh rural setting that is unforgiving yet beautiful. It's a helluva good ride and I can't wait to recommend it.”
—Cody Morrison, Square Books
“The Lost Country lands like a shimmering gift from the beyond. For those of us who cherish and honor Gay's tremendous talent, his bold method of seeing the waste and wonder we are, this posthumous novel is a reminder of what we miss: the language pitched toward the sublime, his men and women grappling for redemption in a world that has damned them, his understanding of grace in the presence of human badness. When Gay died too soon, we lost much, but The Lost Country gives a piece of him back to us.”
—William Giraldi, author of Hold the Dark
“The novel exposes us to a deliciously dark southern underbelly, one that, when paired with its sparse, lean prose and quiet intensity, becomes incredibly mesmerizing.”
—The Next Best Book Club
For ordering and more information, please visit Dzanc Books.
We are finalizing the final proof of The Lost Country, to be published by Dzanc Books in July, 2018. Words cannot describe how exciting it is to get the advance reader and see all of our hard work realized. Everyone at the William Gay Archive is grateful to Dzanc Books and Publisher and Editor in chief Michelle Dotter for their dedication in seeing this book through.
It's hard for me to express what a strange honor it is for me to be working on the writings and jacket design for William's second posthumous release, Stoneburner. Long before I became involved with the archive project, I was a fan. I would read William's books and imagine what I would do for the covers. His writing spoke to some of my imagery and I felt a commonality. And so the years pass and an unlikely fate intervenes.
My original proposal for the Stoneburner cover was to do it entirely of my own design. JM White, William's friend, publisher, and director of the archive pushed for inclusion of one of William's paintings. He explained that William always wanted his paintings on the covers of his books, and it bothered William when the larger publishers didn't use them. During his lifetime, only two books had his paintings on the covers, Wittgenstein's Lolita and Time Done Been Won't Be No More, both published by JM White and Wild Dog Press.
I looked over many of William's paintings and selected a snowy farm house scene. There is a location in the novel where this is fitting, and I liked the painting's somber tone. The symmetrical composition of the painting naturally lent itself to both front and back covers. I made an effort not to manipulate any of the image, and to cover as little of it as possible and still have it work in a larger design.
In adding the ink brushstrokes and drips, I was thinking about the growing unraveling for the characters in the novel, the sense that things are falling apart and becoming uncontrolled. At some point during the design of this book, I began to realize the cover was an unexpected collaboration with one of my favorite authors. I can only hope William approves.
The inception of Anomolaic Press began in early 2014, when I was helping a group of William Gay's friends and admirers prepare what was to be the first manuscript of posthumous writings, This Ride's Not Over Yet. Our original intention was that we would publish the book ourselves under the imprint Anomolaic Press. During this time I created the two-headed whippoorwill image and Anomolaic Press logo. The manuscript was shelved when Dzanc Books voiced interest in purchasing the rights to Little Sister Death and The Lost Country.
The manuscript of Stoneburner has been completed for some time, but it was necessary to explore all the publishing options with different presses. In the end, we decided to release the book ourselves, and resurrect Anomolaic Press. In doing so, it will ensure several points: we have absolute editorial control, the book looks and is printed they way we think William would want, and most importantly, control over all profits so that they may go to William Gay's family.
The word anomolaic was a favorite of William's, and appears in several of his writings. We thought it an appropriate name for our press, as well as a tribute to the man himself.
Little Sister Death, the first William Gay book to be published posthumously, is now out in paperback from Dzanc Books. This is one of the William Gay manuscripts that I helped edit, and I'm pleased to see it continue to be published and find new readers.
David Binder is a young, successful writer living in Chicago and suffering from writer’s block. He stares at the blank page, and the blank page stares back — until inspiration strikes in the form of a ghost story that captivated him as a child. With his pregnant wife and young daughter in tow, he sets out to explore the myth of Virginia Beale, Faery Queen of the Haunted Dell. But as his investigation takes him deeper and deeper into the legacy of blood and violence that casts its shadow over the old Beale farm, Binder finds himself obsessed with a force that’s as wicked as it is seductive.
A stirring literary rendition of Tennessee’s famed Curse of the Bell Witch, Little Sister Death skillfully toes the line between Southern Gothic and horror, and further cements William Gay’s legacy as not only one of the South’s finest writers, but among the best that American literature has to offer.