Daniel Fuchs


Hardcover, 832 pages
ISBN 1-57423-210-x (sc)
ISBN 1-57423-211-8 (hc)

Please note that The Brooklyn Novels will be available October 2006.

 

The Brooklyn Novels
by Daniel Fuchs
introduction by Jonathan Lethem

“They stand up ... The impression they make is one of bursting vitality, of overflowing life. There are novelists and there are storytellers, and Fuchs is among the great storytellers.” –Partisan Review

These three novels of the 1930s constitute an American classic. In their own way, they do for the Jewish immigrants of Brooklyn what Studs Lonigan did for the Irish of Chicago. So it is no surprise that, upon their first publication, Lonigan’s creator welcomed them in a review for The Nation, praising Fuchs’s keen eye, excellent ear for dialogue, and quick perception of the grotesque, the whimsical, the tragic. “I know of few novelists in America today,” James T. Farrell said, “who possess Fuchs’s natural talent and energy or his sense of life.”

In his 80s Fuchs wrote: “I used to go on long walks...take in the street sights at night. I freely used the sights and happenings in the three novels I wrote in my 20s: Summer in Williamsburg (1934), Homage to Blenholt (1936), and Low Company (1937). . . . I had ‘ideas’ for each of these books, but I soon tired of them, ideas being – for me, at any rate – unsatisfactory. I abandoned them . . . and devoted myself simply to the tenement: the life in the hallways, the commotion at the dumbwaiters, the assortment of characters in the building, their strivings and preoccupations, their troubles in the interplay of sexes. There was always a ferment, slums of no slums. The slums didn't held them down.”

Time hasn’t held down these novels, either. Like Joseph Mitchell’s New York sketches of the same period, they are as alive today as the day they were first printed, as tropical-rainforest lush, as exuberant. What’s true remains so, and Farrell spoke the truth back in 1937: there are still few novelists in America today who possess Fuchs’s talent, his energy, his sense of life.


Hardcover, 272 pages
ISBN 1-57423-205-3
$24.95

 

The Golden West: Hollywood Stories
by Daniel Fuchs
introduction by John Updike

Click here for an online preview of "Dream City" from The Golden West

The Atlantic Selection for June 2005

"Nobody else writes like Daniel Fuchs. I think of him as a natural – a poet who never had to strain after a poetic effect, a magician who made magic look almost too easy."
– John Updike

Brooklyn born and bred, Daniel Fuchs came to Hollywood when he was twenty-six to work on a film based on one of his Collier’s short stories. He never left. “Writing for the movies was fine,” he later remembered, “the freedom and fun, the hard work,” but even finer were the pictures themselves – team-built, mass-market miracles, “brisk and full of urgent meaning.” Finest of all, though, were the people – charismatic stars, crackerjack screenwriters, hustling producers, inscrutable directors – their virtues and flaws and egos and disappointments all visible in high relief “because the sunlight over everything was so clear and brilliant.”

Fuchs not only wrote screenplays, he also wrote fiction and personal essays, mainly for The New Yorker. The Golden West collects, for the first time, the best of his writings about Hollywood, from a novice screenwriter’s diary of 1938 to a mellow insider’s memoirs of 1989. The centerpiece of the book is “West of the Rockies,” a haunting short novel, set in the 1950s, about a half-mad woman, immature and incapable, who is nevertheless a star, “a quantity indefinable, ephemeral, everlastingly elusive – Hollywood’s chief stock in trade.” This, and the eight other pieces collected here, are, as Irving Howe observed, “worth placing beside Fitzgerald’s and West’s evocations of the Hollywood frenzy – that lunatic desperation that keeps these people, their hearts eaten away by success and memory, clinging to slopes to avoid falling into bankruptcy yet still dreaming that, with a yank here, a twist there, they’ll again make a cool million.”

 

 


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