Temporary People: A Trip Into The Backlist
Dear Black Lawrence Press Friends, Family, and Fans,
In 1946, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot opened and closed in London in less than two months. Worse, a year later, ‘Godot’ ran for less than 40 performances on Broadway. 60 years later, ‘Godot’ is recognized as one of the greatest plays in the English language.
Joeseph Heller’s Catch 22 was rejected by 32 publishers before being published in 1961, and becoming one of the literary landmarks of our time.
Between 1953-1954, Nabokov’s Lolita went unpublished and rejected for over 14 months, before it, too, found its way into the pantheon of American literature and was published in 1955.
Who knows if Steven Gillis’ novel, Temporary People, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. What we do know is that in April of 2008, Temporary People received glowing reviews by the few sources which read the novel. Wary of the material, the majority of major reviewers shied away. Stores were unsure as well what to do with the novel which, since its release, has proven prescient in its commentary on the state of the world and human nature at its best and worst. A love story and political satire, Temporary People is a book which like many of its predecessors is initially misunderstood and neglected, but – we hope – through your readership destined for greater things.
Here’s an excerpt from the first page of the novel:
The babies’ heads are fat as fruit grown ripe beyond all natural measure. I remember the first time I saw one, her woebegone look and swollen scale, with hair stretched out in gossamer patches, as ill-proportioned as an artist’s lampoon. Startled, I couldn’t help but stare and wonder what had happened. Three months later, as the numbers rose and hinted of an epidemic, the truth came out and to no surprise gave us Teddy Lamb, a.k.a. the General…