New Directions is proud to present one of the most spellbinding novels you will read this year, and certainly the weirdest.
First published in 1931, Unclay glows with an unworldly light--Death has come to the small village of Dodder to deliver a parchment with the names of two local mortals and the fatal word unclay upon it. When he loses the precious sheet, he is at a loss, and also free of his errand. Hungry to taste the sweet fruits of human life, Mr. John Death, as he is now known, takes a holiday in Dorsetshire and rests from his reaping. The village teems with the old virtues (love, kindness, patience) and the old sins (lust, avarice, greed). What unfolds is a witty, earthy, metaphysical, and delicious novel of enormous moral force and astonishing beauty.
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About the Author
Mr. Powys is not a writer for everybody, but I am sure that he is a writer for posterity: indeed, of living authors I consider him the most notable, both as a thinker and a stylist.--Sylvia Townsend Werner
Very few 20th-century authors have the knack of writing convincingly of first and last things. T.F. Powys is one of them.--John Gray
An esoteric genius: his books are puzzling, engaging, and illuminating, glowing with a gentle, a half eerie light, humane, ironic and wise. Powys gives pleasure and delight, unique and surprising music.
Heretical, scandalous, and mocking, but essentially parables.--Jorge Luis Borges
Powys's quaint village brims with eccentrics and sinners, and gentle humor exists alongside a brutal frankness about power and sex. It is hard not to succumb to the strange, animating energy in Powys's allegorical tale about Death's redeeming qualities.-- (10/12/2018)