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THE JAMES SALLIS READER

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“Ever among the most unconventional and interesting writers of crime fiction.” Kirkus Reviews

Rick Kleffel, the Agony Column:
“…Sallis has written much more than mystery. He’s written science fiction, horror and lots of fascinating literary criticism. “At literary gatherings, asked about influences, I’m as likely to cite science fiction and horror movies of the Fifties as I am James Joyce or Albert Camus,” he tells us on the back cover of this Reader… I have to admit, that when I first saw the word “Reader” on the spine of this book, my heart sank a bit. I love Sallis’ work, but too often collections that call themselves “Readers” end up being sort of “Floor Sweepings”. Nothing annoys me more than an excerpt from a novel. I want the whole novel damnit. If you must give something that became a novel, I’ll be happy to look at a short story that was later expanded, or something that was “fixed up”. But this excerpt crap — forget it! And that’s frankly what I expected to find here, thus the heart-sinking action.

Imagine my surprise when I actually note that ‘The James Sallis Reader’ includes not just one, but TWO full-length novels. Now that’s what I’m talking about wanting in a reader, my friends. The novels in this reader include ‘Death Will Have Your Eyes’, an existential spy novel and ‘Renderings’, an experimental novel that mixes poetry, Proust and Rilke. So from the get-go, you know you’re going to get a good picture of what Sallis is up to…

This volume, a handsomely produced trade paperback, includes seven sections. There’s a pretty damn entertaining Introduction. Then, there is a section of short stories, which will blow away those who have shelved Sallis in the mystery-only section. There are pieces that have first speared in F&SF, Orbit, and on websites like Fantastic Metropolis and 3 AM. The short stories are followed by a selection of literary essays on the likes of Patricia Highsmith, David Goodis, Walter Tevis, Gerald Kersh and Paco Taibo. This is followed by the novel ‘Death Will Have Your Eyes’. After that, you’ve got thirty pages of poetry, followed by Personal Essays. And then you finish, appropriately enough, with ‘Renderings’, which itself might seem to be a sort of personal essay. What it all adds up to is my idea of a Reader. A big swathe of work that shows the writer’s full range. Complete pieces of work, complete novels, even. Criticism to provide a literary compass and essays to provide a personal compass. What you get then, is a map of James Sallis.”

The POINT BLANK READER series is dedicated to introducing you to the finest novelists in the mystery and crime fiction genres in carefully selected volumes that each include a full length novel, selected shorter fiction and other writings by the author.
James Sallis is the author of the acclaimed Lew Griffin series of detective novels, multiple collections of short fiction, essays, poems, musicology, a biography of Chester Himes, and several other books. This volume includes his novels Death Will Have Your Eyes and Renderings, numerous short stories, poems, personal essays and articles on crime writers such as Patricia Highsmith, Gerald Kersh and others.

James Sallis has published over two dozen books including ten novels, multiple collections of stories, poems and essays, three volumes of musicology, a biography of Chester Himes, and a translation of Raymond Queneau’s novel Saint Glinglin. His work appears frequently in such publications as the Washington Post, L.A. Times, Alfred Hitchcock’s and the Georgia Review. He contributes quarterly columns to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and literary website Web Del Sol, and a monthly column to the Boston Globe; plays with a number of bands; and in his spare time teaches at Phoenix College and at Otis College in L.A. Later this year Pointblank will publish a James Sallis Reader containing two full novels along with a generous selection of poems, short stories and essays.

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