08 May 2017

The Return of The Pyx

It's no great secret – and certainly no deadly secret – that this spring's Ricochet Books title will be John Buell's masterful debut novel, The Pyx. The reissue was announced a few months ago, though I haven't mentioned it here.

I should have. I've never felt so proud in working to return a title to print.

No Canadian novelist has been so unjustly neglected as John Buell. He was published by Farrar, Straus, he was praised by Edmund Wilson, and he has been out of print for more than a quarter century. I never once heard John Buell's name in the years I studied at Concordia University... the very same university at which he was teaching.

Wish I'd known.

Sean Kelly was one of Buell's students. This was years earlier, when The Pyx was first published. Sean was good enough to write the introduction to the new Ricochet edition. It begins:
In 1959, when his novel The Pyx was published, John Buell was a 32-year old professor at Loyola College, where I was a first-year student and he saved my life.
The first half of Sean's introduction has just been published in Concordia University Magazine. You can read it and the rest of the issue online – gratis – through this link. Sean's piece features on the third to last page.

The Ricochet edition of The Pyx will hit bookstores later this month. It can be pre-ordered through the publisher and online booksellers.

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  1. Morning Star is another name for Lucifer. Do you think Buell named the night club in the Pyx "Evening Star" with this knowledge?

    1. Good question, Howard. Knowing Buell, I'm betting he chose that name for that very reason.