October 2010. Lots of news to tell. Hang on and we will be updating this site very soon
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The paperback version of The Crazyladies of Pearl Street has been on the streets in the US since 6th June 2006, while the UK rights are under negotiation for publication in the spring 2007.
On the Death of Trevanian.
'...I don't mean to speak of Rod with all-round authority. Only his immediate family can do that. We are all multi-facetted, none more than he was, turning different aspects of ourselves to different people, so I can only speak of him as he appeared to us, to Bill and me, for we have talked of him together much lately, since we last sat in his company in France, this August this year. Though he was famously elusive, and though I fancy I may have spied him out, yet behind that fancy is the thought that what I spied is just what he would want me - us - to spy. I don't think that he would disagree with my findings, but he would certainly have enjoyed bandying them about!
Ask anyone who met Rod what they retain of his presence and they're likely to answer something different, but all true. From the few times they met him, our children loved his verbal playfulness. I admired his amazing general knowledge graciously shared, though he had a disconcerting way of searching your face to see if you thought he just might be inventing stuff. Bill enjoyed his entertaining, instructive and nimble conversation. These particular qualities, I think, go back to his liking of the Play as a medium for ideas. Before he turned to writing popular novels and short stories, he was a playwright, a dialogue creator, as well as a director and an actor. He said himself that all these learned and innate skills fed his later career as a novelist, that he use to rehearse scenes in an actorly way and then write them out. That kind of dramatic imagination had been at work since boyhood, as he tells in his last most autobiographical book (The Crazyladies of Pearl Street).
Though Rod had lived away from his native land a large part of his life and certainly found much of modern America inimical to him, he had, in my view, an unmistakeable affinity with what is best in the American man of letters. His wit and humour, with a touch of subtle exaggeration in anecdote were, I believe, in the fine tradition of the American humourists Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, E.B. White and others. His lightly worn erudition was characteristic of American scholars from Emerson to Edmund Wilson to Gore Vidal. His practice of that nearly lost art of structured conversation, like a well-written dialogue in which he turned out to deliver the best lines, wholly spontaneous, was a combination of those. At best, Rod's discourse, like his writing, was naturally witty and graceful, with a certain old-world courtliness of manner and voice not often encountered and belonging, I think to an earlier American era when erudition and elegance of style were not so suspect...
...He was ever the consummate wordsmith and retained ..his abiding interest in the process of writing. As Trevanian, his chief pseudonym, he was free to play many roles, using many voices...actorly again - but his last book, completed ... against great odds, he came closest to his most personal voice. There he is between the pages, even more so in the discursive footnotes (as long as Sir Walter Scott's!) where we have the authentic Rod having a great rant from time to time, with all the humour and elegance of phrase, affection for family, and for the American, small-town era he came from. I shall always think of him and smile.
I'd like to finish with a short elegiac poem by Wendell Berry, a Kentucky poet born three years later than Rod.
He goes free of the earth.
The Long Street
Above the road float the lighted
C. Somerville, 2005
More soon...The Making of a Liberal Conscience
[This book is in some ways a key to our country; America was made by people like this.-Washington Post]
If you have just bought Crazyladies you will need the Cybernotes Companion for downloading, printing off and keeping with your copy of the book. Read more about this unique offering from Trevanian click here
You do not need the Cybernotes to read and enjoy The Crazyladies of Pearl Street. The book is a complete whole. The Cybernotes, however, provide other angles on the life of the times. Here's what a recent visitor (Mary) from New York said.
'...when I re-read the book with the cybernotes in my hand, it was like having a second good book to read, so interesting did I find it. The history, the amplifications, the arguments, and the spicy non-PCism of the writer's comments blended with his essential compassion and his sense of fair play for the underdog.'
To download right now the cybernotes to Trevanian's latest novel The Crazyladies of Pearl Street click the icon above. (It is recommended to save this file(830k) directly to disk by right clicking on your mouse rather than using the Acrobat viewer to open the file while on-line.)
You also may be one of those interested readers that Trevanian calls 'the Others'. Here's what he said of you, "The Trevanian Buff is a strange and wonderful creature: an outsider, a natural elitist, not so much a cynic as an idealist mugged by reality, not just one of those who march to a different drummer, but the solo drummer in a parade of one... Please accept these tokens of gratitude for having followed me though so many genre and eras."
Trevanian, alone of authors of the modern era, has become a world-wide success, sold millions of books without ever making a public appearance or a signing or a live interview. Today's news is that he is reaching his many readers - those 'others' - through this web site.
Much of Trevanian.com is devoted to giving the reader of Crazyladies the chance to deepen his or her experience of the years described in it. But there is a great deal more here. Trevanian has given us a glimpse of the contents of his desk, and allowed some of the texts found there also to be made available to the Trevanian Buff.
The site is an on-going process of discovery and change, and over the months that follow things will be added, taken away, improved upon and generally worked into a coherent picture of a great author and his works.
The evolution of a web site
To the webmaster, Trevanian.com
Just yesterday (untypically it seems, at a somewhat advanced age) I finished my first Trevanian novel, Shibumi. I see that Trevanian is a cynical idealist, a Cervantes-like, and as yet beginning, possible hero ("beginning" is not negatively intended, and does not refer, of course, to his ability or history as a writer). I see a person who is brilliant enough, knowledgeable enough, and obviously well-regarded enough to offer a continuum of instruction on his website as to how we all might take action (non-violently, that is) to save the present world from the terrible Samsaric "reality" of power on which his Mother Company is based. (That might be quite risky, though, maybe?) But he also seems to have ego enough to understand where the leaders and the followers are vulnerable and/or transformable...Can Mr.Trevanian meet such an amazing and incredible challenge? We need someone to, don't we? Hopefully, A.C.L.
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