24 September 2018

The Return of John Buell's Four Days

John Buell is Montreal's most unjustly neglected novelist, and this is his most unjustly neglected novel. Four Days is so strong a work that it alone caused Edmund Wilson to declare Buell one of Canada's foremost writers. Beginning with the 1962 Farrar, Straus & Culahy, the novel enjoyed several editions and translations, then slipped out of print in the early 'nineties.

No more.

This week sees its return, following The Pyx, John Buell's debut novel, as the thirteenth Ricochet Book published by Véhicule Press. Montreal writer Trevor Ferguson, also known by his "John Farrow" pen name, provides a new foreword. As Ricochet series editor, I'm proud to have worked with publishers Simon Dardick and Nancy Marelli in returning Four Days to print.

I first wrote about Four Days in this 2011 Dusty Bookcase review:
Four Days in Darkest Quebec
It is one of Canada's greatest novels.

Edmund Wilson would agree.

John Buell
1927 - 2013
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  1. Could you please tell me who the cover artist is? The credit line would often appear on the inside front or back flap of the dust jacket, at the bottom. Thanks for your help!

    1. Hello Lief, I expect you're asking because of a query on the Today's Inspiration Facebook page. 'Twas I who inquired. My copy is now in storage, and won't be accessible for another few weeks. That said, I suspect that it has no credit. I usually mention cover artists when describing books, but see this wasn't done in my 2011 review. Could've been an oversight on my part, perhaps - Farrar Straus is usually good about such things. Given the reissue, I'm keen on giving credit where credit is due.

    2. Hah! How funny - it's a small world on the ol' internet, isn't it Brian? ;) I notice this morning that another member has suggested the artist may be Enrico Arno.

    3. I have the Farrar first edition and the artist is listed as Mr Arno.

  2. Congratulations on another lovely edition. The cover was designed by Enrico Arno.

  3. Fans of Buell may be interested in this write-up from 1949, which shows the author as part of a group of winners from the first Eastern Ontario Drama Festival, where he was awarded Best Playwright https://archive.org/stream/thecarleton04carl#page/16/search/buell

  4. Cover designer is often a different credit from cover artist. Though Arno is an artist and worked in this style.

    I picked up my copy from a dealer who had a lot of overpriced Canadian firsts- and this one lone signed copy at a very reasonable price.

  5. If you're looking to pick this up at Paragraph books in Montreal, ask the staff to help you find a copy. The store is going through a bit of a reno, and all of the Ricochet books have been moved from their normal spot. :)