Thursday, November 18, 2010

Circumspections from an Equestrian Statue by Jaimy Gordon

Congratulations to 2010 National Book Award Winner for Fiction Jaimy Gordon
Circumspections from an Equestrian Statue
Jaimy Gordon
$14 | paper | 76 pp.
Burning Deck
June 1979
ISBN: 9780930900786

LAST COPIES! SORRY, THIS ITEM IS SOLD OUT! Fiction. Early novella by National Book Award winner Jaimy Gordon. Frontispiece and five ornamental initials by Dennis Hlynski. “CIRCUMSPECTIONS FROM AN EQUESTRIAN STATUE in length between a story and a novel, is one of her most delightful works. It has a precise historical setting: General Burnside has returned from the American Civil War (he was the North's worst general, by some margin) to build his house, be elected governor of Rhode Island, and become famous for the cut of his whiskers (‘sideburns’). Having, after four years of marriage, no child, he engages P. Mariam Wishey, ‘pioneer of gynecology,’ to examine his wife. (I would like to think Wishey is historical, but I’ve yet to find a reference to him.) This situation is complicated by the ghost of Burnside’s nephew, who disappeared during the battle of Fredericksburg—the General’s great fiasco—and by the fact that Mrs. Burnside is not (as everyone in the story seems to assume) asexual. It is a tightly constructed and very funny story in limpid prose”—Keith Waldrop.

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