Marly Youmans$17.95 $16.51
“Charis in the World of Wonders confirms once more Marly Youmans' place among the magi. There is indeed ‘a dark and amazing intricacy in the ways of Providence’, as this spellbinding novel attests.” —John Wilson, Contributing Editor, Englewood Review of Books “Charis is a prismatic grace journey that awakens our dulled senses and ignites our adventurous hearts. A seventeenth-century girl pilgrim, with dark shadows of Salem foreboding over her, begins a refractive journey as a faithful exile toward a golden sea.” —Makoto Fujimura, Artist; Author of Culture Care and Silence and Beauty “Imagine if William Faulkner had decided to rewrite Last of the Mohicans. What you would have is something like Charis in the World of Wonders—a wild adventure tale written with grace and insight. Youmans' prose is fluid, sharply witty, and deeply rich in symbolism—the work of a master.” —J. Augustine Wetta, OSB, Author of The Eighth Arrow and Humility Rules “Youmans’ magnificent storyteller brings the early days of Europeans on the American continent vividly to life, in all their wonder and sorrow.” —Emily Barton, Author of Brookland and The Book of Esther “From the pen of an award-winning novelist and poet comes the story of Charis, a girl who loses everything and finds love and acceptance in an age of fear and uncertainty. This book is that rare thing, a novel containing characters who are both historically accurate and completely relatable.” —Fiorella De Maria, Author of A Most Dangerous Innocence and The Sleeping Witness A writer I greatly admire and have sometimes written about, Marly Youmans, has a new book coming late in March from Ignatius Press: Charis in the World of Wonders, with cover art and illustrations by the incomparable Clive Hicks-Jenkins. This novel, set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, should occasion a piece that tackles the whole sweep of Youmans’s work. She’s not part of any fashionable faction, and much as I would be delighted and surprised to see it receive generous attention in the New York Times Book Review and other such outlets, I am mainly hoping that First Things, Commonweal, Image, and other kindred publications will not let this opportunity pass. —John Wilson, "Desiderata," First Things
Winner of the Ferrol Sams Award Judge's statement: "Ms. Youmans gives us a beautifully written and exceptionally satisfying novel with rich language and lovely turns of phrase that invite the reader to linger on every page." Silver Award, ForeWord BOTYA (GENERAL FICTION) excerpt, ABOUT.COM CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE It is seldom that a novel from a small university press can compete with the offerings from the big houses in New York. A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage may be the best novel this reviewer has read this year. Its quality and story-telling remind one of The Adventures of Roderick Random, Great Expectations, and The Grapes of Wrath, among others. The winner of the 2012 "Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction, A Death has the potential to become a classic American picaresque novel. One wishes, however, that this novel will not get shunted into the regional box and be seen only as a Southern novel. Its themes and the power of its language, the forceful flow of its storyline and its characters have earned the right to a broad national audience. 30 July 2012 John M. Formy-Duval D. G. Myers, "Meursault goes home again," in A Commonplace Blog (12 December 2012) Pip is delivered from existential despair—and the novel is delivered from sentimentality—by the grace of Youmans’s prose, in which tender poetry and jubilant lyricism are carefully separated from realities that are unyielding and often foul. The style affirms what the facts deny; or at least until the very end, when poetry and reality mesh at last. Where Meursault found only indifference in the world, Pip finds radiance, the immanence of glory which St. Paul called, in his letter to the Hebrews, apaugasma. (It is no accident that, in Christianity, home is identified with the Church.) One of the best novels of 2012, A Death at the White Camellia Orphange is a moving and powerful novel of the religious experience, the longing and the search for God’s presence in the world, without ever once speaking religion’s dirty name.
Some years ago, I described the novelist and poet Marly Youmans as "the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers." That's still true today (so I think), and if you haven't tried Youmans yet, her new novel, Glimmerglass, is a very good place to start.... The artist's calling, "to see and to record all life that filled this world—all, all [Welty quote]," is just what Cynthia accepts, and just what Marly Youmans fulfills in this wonderful novel. One last note. We hear a lot about bad news in the world of publishing. And there is a lot of bad news to report. But let me register that this particular book is not only beautifully written but also beautifully made. The illustrations, by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, are superb. The typography, the entire design of the book: all bespeak care and skill that rhyme with Youmans' art and the story she tells. Blessings to Mercer University Press. --from John Wilson, "Glimmerglass," in Books and Culture Magazine, November 24, 2014. I am currently reading Marly Youmans' 2014 novel Glimmerglass, a hard shining tale of art and wonder, about how life is art and wonder, how art and wonder are life, how wonder and life are art. I am trying to think of what it reminds me of, and the best I can do right now is sort of mid-period A.S. Byatt crossed with H.D. Thoreau under the tutelage of Lewis Carroll. The prose is vibrant and imaginative, the images of nature rubbing against and through fantastic and magical symbols... Youmans has written a magic book, is what I keep thinking as I read. Not a book about magic, but a book full of magic, made of magic. A lot of modern literature is about the existential problem and focuses with a serious mind on the pain of existence; Youmans focuses with a serious mind on the joy of existence, without sentiment and treacle....Youmans' literary conceit of presenting her characters as mythic figures while simultaneously presenting them as mudbound humans; the story threatens, as I've said, to tumble backwards through the landscape into myth; it's unstable and hallucinatory, but not in a C.S. Lewis "there is a hidden world accessible through my closet" kind of way. Youmans is doing something new: her world is both mundane and miraculous. --novelist Scott G. F. Bailey, January 2015. I know of no writers other than Marly Youmans who have the genius to combine the spine-tingling suspense of Gothic storytelling with the immense charm, grace, glamour, realism, and simplicity of Hawthorne. Glimmerglass does more than shimmer and grip; it entertains and hypnotizes. Youmans, one of the biggest secrets of contemporary American fiction, writes with freshness and beauty. Whether she’s writing historical fiction or fantasy, her characters leave one breathless. Her ability to describe a person, a place, or the psychological underpinnings of a plot or individual, ranks with the great novelists, the highest literature. A tale of love and intrigue, mystery and pathology, Glimmerglass’ appeal is the warmth and charge of a tale told round a fire fused by Hitchcockian anxiety, empathy, and relief. Nature, architecture, dread, thrill, sexual dilemma, and murder echo against Youmans’ gorgeous prose and terrifying romance, which glides like a serpent―without a single extraneous or boring word. Youmans is my favorite storyteller. I come back to her as if to a holy well. --Jeffery Beam, award-winning poet of The Broken Flower, Gospel Earth, and many more books.
Begin with what seems the end of things—how Conall Weaver lifts a gun to his head. And now dive backward into the labyrinthine worlds of home, where Conall is the center, into the maze of love, where Conall seeks and strives with his soul-mate, and into the maze of imagination, with its population of weapon-wielding heroes and local-color Texans…and then on, into the maze of childhood, where time seems illusion and all the threads and stories start. Red for the blood of frontiersmen and Indians, Conall thought, red for the blood of proven heroes and mother, the martyr of Cross Plains. Maze for the looping coils of a snake that ended in a rattle that shook out revolutionary warning: don’t tread on me! Maze for veins of blood. Maze for family. In Conall Weaver, the mundane world and the wonders of the imagination collide and shoot out sparks. Inspired by the life of pulp writer Robert E. Howard, MAZE OF BLOOD explores the roots of story and the compulsions and conflicts of the heart in a Southern landscape. “Marly Youmans is a great writer. Her prose is immaculate.” —Laird Barron “Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times but in tune with the ages.” —First Things “I cannot recommend an author more than Marly Youmans, whose fantastic prose is absolutely gorgeous and haunting.” —Seb Doubinsky
In THALIAD, Marly Youmans has written a powerful and beautiful saga of seven children who escape a fiery apocalypse----though "written" is hardly the word to use, as this extraordinary account seems rather "channeled" or dreamed or imparted in a vision, told in heroic poetry of the highest calibre. Amazing, mesmerizing, filled with pithy wisdom, THALIAD is a work of genius which also seems particularly relevant to our own time. --novelist Lee Smith. It's a high water-mark of what's possible... It's old school book-crafter perfect. With that book you leapt from being one of my favorite writers to a game-changer. The literary sphere will have to catch up to what I and others have already seen--but there is no doubt it is a remarkable achievement. --James Artimus Owen, writer and artist. Recounted 67 years later by Emma, a teenaged librarian who roves the wastes with sword and gun in search of unrescued books, the Thaliad fuses several out-of-vogue elements--formalist verse, narrative poetry, classical epic--to a familiar science fiction trope. What grows from this grafting is a weird, fresh, magical thing: the story of a new world rooted in the ingenuity and optimism of "one who / Was ordinary as a stone or stem / Until the fire came and called her name." --Jeff Sypeck, from Quid plura?
When a person reads a Marly Youmans poem, all the spaces ‘round about fall silent. The busy world is hushed, and her words, each one perfect and pinned in its perfect place, rise into the silence and burst into light. I, a poor mortal, can explain her work in no other terms. --Howard Bahr, novelist Youmans is a traditionalist in her use of forms, and her work will delight those who enjoy classical poetry with direction and structure, yet her strong and inventive metaphors and similes evoke an otherness that only Coleridge attained....wholly beautiful and brilliant. Youmans is a writer of rare ability whose works will one day be studied by serious students of poetry. --Greg Langley, Books editor, The Baton Rouge Advocate, October 2, 2011 When I think of Marly Youmans’ work, the word that comes to mind is “magic.” By this, I mean not only her language, but her evocation of mystery. Youmans’ poems always seem utterly new and startlingly familiar. Moreover, she has admirable range in terms of subject matter and tone. While I tend to favor her poems about the mythological, Youmans shows astonishing skill, whatever the subject. She is a poet working at the height of her powers. --Kim Bridgford, poet, editor, Mezzo Cammin, and Director, West Chester University Poetry Conference