New York: New Directions, 1974. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's blue cloth, spine stamped in silver, original photo-illustrated dust jacket.
American postmodern novelist Hawkes's seventh novel, centered on the sex-and-death fantasies of a middle-aged Dutchman literally at sea. Hawkes, who taught at Harvard and Brown, was influential on a generation of younger writers, including his students Rick Moody and Jeffrey Eugenides. He once explained to the journal Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, ''I began to write fiction on the assumption that the true enemies of the novel were plot, character, setting and theme...." Contemporary reviewers were not always sanguine: "[T]he narrator speaks like a voice from the dead, from no discernible place or time, bodiless but full of an old man's sexuality which somehow manages to be obscene without being sexy; the plot is pointless; and the writing, in Hawkes' by-now familiar style, mingles past and present and dream in a way that once seemed exciting but now seems designed merely to circumvent the difficulties of narrative continuity" (Kirkus Review). Illustrated with two photo negatives by Dennis Martin; dust jacket designed by regular New Directions designer Gertrude Huston. Unclipped dust jacket toned at edges, with creasing and short closed tears to spine head and top edge of rear panel. Very good. Item #153