Warlock (New York Review Books Classics)

Warlock (New York Review Books Classics)

Language: English

Pages: 488

ISBN: 1590171616

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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

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as though they itched. Clay said, "Morg, would you call for another glass, "Why, they are — and — "No, not for me. No, thanks," the deputy said. He looked sick with dread. His back was to the bar and he tried awkwardly to glance around, and then he said, "Is Johnny Gannon with them over there, can you see, Morgan?" "He's there," Morgan said, and picked up the cards again. Schroeder bared his teeth in some kind of grimace. Clay got to his feet. His colt was out of sight beneath the skirt of

watched him from the doorway at the end of the bar. *| Everyone was looking at him; he felt it like a blow in the ;fl — " THE FIGHT 40 IN THE ACME CORRAL stomach, and slowly he too started out after the rest. Behind him there was the sudden whispering of the Glass Slipper coming back to life. They stood on the boardwalk in the near-darkness. As he came outside, slipping his still-bleeding hand into his pocket, he saw Curley standing close to Abe. He heard Curley laugh nervously.

where it was stuck in the floor. Abe spun it down again, the blade shining fiery in the light. "Let me tell you," Curley said to the old man. "Bold as brass I went in there against him. In the Glass Slipper, that was packed with guns to back the bastard up. 'Let's see the color of your belly, Marshal!' I said to him." The old man said, "Son, how come you let Curley "Hush now, Dad McQuown. I am telling this. How come he let me? Why, he knows I am the coolest head in San Pablo, and that saloon

wouldn't see me run. I might not maybe go out on the prod for Curley Burne or any of them, but I won't ever run. Made GANNON CALLS THE TURN a damned fool of myself/* he said, flushing "Curley?" Gannon said 73 more darkly. carefully. "Well, there is a lot that thinks high of Curley. Will Hart is one. Said he didn't think Curley ever robbed a coach in his life. We had some words on that, too." Carl scrubbed his hands up over his face. "I don't know I am pretty down on Curley, Johnny," he

Carl here "Four hundred, God damn it!" Skinner broke in. "By God, how the talk in this town makes everything something it isn't. Old man, you'd set yourself where he sets for four — Committee hundred a month?" Tim French, who worked squeezed inside past Skinner. at the Feed and Grain Barn, He had a round, cheerful, bright-eyed face, like a boy's. "Heard the news, Carl?" Schroeder nodded tightly, and, with the same slow, carefiil movement, tipped his chair back again. "Heard it. Some

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