Sunday, September 18, 2016

William T. Vollmann, "Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs (first edition, signed with drawing)

Following my last post on William T. Vollman's An Afghanistan Picture Show, this is a first edition of the author's 1991 collection Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs. Similar to what happened with my copy of An Afghanistan Picture Show I bought this signed first with the intention of replacing the copy I already had. I'm in a particular phase right now trying to collect copies of Vollmann’s books with drawings in them and picked this up sight-unseen from Ken Sanders Rare Books in Utah for $25.

I'm glad I did. This copy has a profile-drawing of a large-featured, zeftig woman who looks sort of like a ghost with her long arm and the curling flourish at the base of the drawing (I think she'd fit in nicely somewhere in the author's Last Stories and Other Stories). I'm absolutely enamored with Vollmann's strange doodles and eventually will make some online photo-album with what I have and what else I've found out there.

Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs is a strange book to read following the genius of Europe Central which I read last month on holiday. It feels like an early work - almost naively so: some stories click but others are kind of duds, to be perfectly honest. I've had a sneaking suspicion that one could connect Vollmann to Jack Kerouac if Kerouac wasn't stuck in the aw-gee 50s -- bring Kerouac through the scummy streets of late-1980s San Francisco, amidst the drugs and prostitutes, and something like Vollmann's story "The Ghost of Magnetism" might come out.

For good measure, here's a photo of the colophon, with some details about Vollmann's artist's books. Check out "The Grave of Lost Stories", illustrated "with the most poisonous inks available":

Currently reading:
Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs by William T. Vollmann

Currently listening to:
Frankie Reyes, "Boleros Valses Y Más"

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