Warlock (New York Review Books Classics)
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Oakley Hall's legendary Warlock revisits and reworks the traditional conventions of the Western to present a raw, funny, hypnotic, ultimately devastating picture of American unreality. First published in the 1950s, at the height of the McCarthy era, Warlock is not only one of the most original and entertaining of modern American novels but a lasting contribution to American fiction.
"Tombstone, Arizona, during the 1880's is, in ways, our national Camelot: a never-never land where American virtues are embodied in the Earps, and the opposite evils in the Clanton gang; where the confrontation at the OK Corral takes on some of the dry purity of the Arthurian joust. Oakley Hall, in his very fine novel Warlock has restored to the myth of Tombstone its full, mortal, blooded humanity. Wyatt Earp is transmogrified into a gunfighter named Blaisdell who . . . is summoned to the embattled town of Warlock by a committee of nervous citizens expressly to be a hero, but finds that he cannot, at last, live up to his image; that there is a flaw not only in him, but also, we feel, in the entire set of assumptions that have allowed the image to exist. . . . Before the agonized epic of Warlock is over with—the rebellion of the proto-Wobblies working in the mines, the struggling for political control of the area, the gunfighting, mob violence, the personal crises of those in power—the collective awareness that is Warlock must face its own inescapable Horror: that what is called society, with its law and order, is as frail, as precarious, as flesh and can be snuffed out and assimilated back into the desert as easily as a corpse can. It is the deep sensitivity to abysses that makes Warlock one of our best American novels. For we are a nation that can, many of us, toss with all aplomb our candy wrapper into the Grand Canyon itself, snap a color shot and drive away; and we need voices like Oakley Hall's to remind us how far that piece of paper, still fluttering brightly behind us, has to fall." —Thomas Pynchon
through which the stage road threaded its way before starting up the long grade from the valley floor. Presently he saw another plume of dust; horse and rider later five miles out of Bright's City road, riding slowly, not hurrying. a * f I appeared, gradually enlarging, coming up the slope toward him. It was Murch, whom he'd sent up the valley. He stood up and waved his hat. Murch's horse was blowing and heaving as he spurred up the last steep piece. Murch | dismounted, sweating and dusty
jail to begin the long nights wait, that the man Cletus must have been more to her than she wanted to admit. I I 93 i Morgan Has Callers • i Morgan had been waiting for her to come all evening, he started at the knock on the alley door, which he knock. He rose and smoothed his hands back along the sides of his head, pulled down the tabs of his vest, buttoned his coat. He slid back the bar and opened the door; at first he could see nothing, and he didn't speak, waiting for his eyes
lamplight in her hair, his throat swelled with pain, for her. He turned away and his eye caught the dark mezzotint of Bonnie Prince Charlie, kilted, beribboned, gripping his sword in noble and silly bravado. He heard heavy footsteps descending the stairs. "Come in, Frank," he said, as Brunk appeared in the doorway. Brunk came inside. "Miss Jessie," he said. "Doc. What Doc?" "The Citizens* Committee has voted to have you posted out as a troublemaker," he said, and saw Brunk's eyes narrow, his
the doorway beyond the trunks. She had on a soiled apron and a white frilled shirt with a high collar. Her black hair was tied up in a scarf, and her face, clean and scrubbed-looking, seemed strangely different until he noticed that the beauty mark was missing. She did not look so tall, either, as she came across the creaking plank floor "Come in, Deputy," she said. entered, and she stepped past him to close the door toward him. He with a slap. "How do you "It's a fine like my
took his bucket into the bedroom. Now the wire in the corner was sagging with clothes. One of the trunks was empty and stood open there was a mirror in the lid with red roses and blue stars painted around it. The top of the crate had been heaped with her things a little black book, a silver n a beaded chain, a silver-chased box, a derringer, a tinted photograph in a gold frame. The picture of the Virgin stood apart from the clutter. — She had a sad, sweet face, He moved full of pity.