Vintage Cover for As Sweet As Honey
The first Tuesday in November my last two novels come out in paperback in Vintage. I am beyond thrilled, especially as I did not expect Inheritance to have a third rebirth. Beacon Press brought out my first novel as a trade book a decade after it first appeared, in 1990, in hardcover from Knopf, and they brought out Inheritance in trade as well. Now, thirteen years later, Inheritance will be back in a new paper edition. It is a young novel, in some ways younger in spirit than The Journey, not only because ita protagonist is a fifteen-year-old heroine. It features her relationship with a man twice her age, but the love story is really between herself and her mother.
I am over the moon that As sweet As Honey gets a second chance in print. I am partial to softcovers, the pocket-sized books you can slip in a purse, that can bend with ease, and swat a mosquito if necessary. I can dog-ear the pages, jot down a phone number. Books are living things after all.
Vintage cover for Inheritance
llustration by Maja Misevic-Kokar, from “One Thousand And One Nights” (2 volumes), translated from French into Serbian by Stanislav Vinaver, published by Matica Srpska, Novi Sad, 1989.
But you’ve always had faith in stories?
It is what I do. I mean, if you are a carpenter you have faith in carpentry.
~Salman Rushdie interview by Tim Adams, Observer, 26/06/11
One has to have faith in stories to write stories. How simple an idea, how deep an idea. If one believes in the power of the narrative, that the act of telling a story can have significance, then how easier is the writer’s task. Instead of imagining you’re groping in the dark, foolishly scribbling away instead of getting a real job, you can imagine purpose. Oscar Wilde aside, we don’t value pleasure for itself. And he was no work shirker.
Placing storytelling the context of a craft, viable as building a house, farming the land, healing the sick, is dangerously marvelous. It implies that we have a need for a possibility spun by imagination that fulfills a void in our lives. Can a story save a life? It can shape a life.
Post Script: The Private Patient was very good.