06 February 2014

Unsettling Garners

Hugh Garner's pseudonymous second novel, Waste No Tears, goes to press next week, returning after a sixty-four year absence as part of the Véhicule Press Ricochet Books series. I'm proud to have played a part in its resurrection, and am particularly pleased with myself for having asked Amy Lavender Harris to pen the Introduction. Anyone at all familiar with her work will understand.

Waste No Tears is not a feel-good novel, but then one would never expect such a thing from a book pitched as "The Novel about the Abortion Racket". The cover, by unappreciated Winnipeg boy Syd Dyke, has haunted me from the day I first set eyes on it.

Published in 1950 by Toronto's New Stand Library, it's a rare book – so rare that two decades later George (then Doug) Fetherling had to give it a pass when writing on Garner for Forum House's Canadian Writers & Their Works series:
It is a novel so scarce that it cannot be found in Canada's largest public library, it's largest university library or even the National Library's copyright deposit.
Odd thing about Garner: his books were graced with some of the most disturbing images. He was, of course, a Governor General's Award-winner, once considered one of our greatest short story writers, but you'd never know it to look at these.

Hugh Garner's Best Stories
Richmond Hill, ON: Pocket Books, 1971
A Nice PLace to Visit
Toronto: Ryerson, 1970
A Nice Place to Visit
Richmond Hill, ON: Pocket Books, 1971
Violation of the Virgins
Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1970
Violation of the Virgins
Richmond Hill, ON: Pocket, 1975
Out of print, each and every one. Well, next month Waste No Tears will be available again, in original cover tweaked to give Garner his due. Pre-orders are being taken by the usual sources.

Can't wait? There's a decent copy of the original New Stand Library edition listed online. But it'll cost you US$249, and it won't have Amy's Introduction.

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  1. This looks great, I'm going to order it now.

  2. I fear it will haunt me from now on. Wow!

  3. That is indeed some cover!

    And those covers for A Nice Place to Visit got me curious enough to seek out any possible on-line reviews I could find. This one came up (and no others!) and was intriguinng enough to get me to track down a copy of the book. So thanks for introducing me to Garner!

  4. Well, some of those editions are pretty damned handsome.