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The Dying Grass: A Novel of the Nez Perce War
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Seven Dreams > 2015 The Dying Grass (Seven Dreams #5)

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Nov 02, 2014 08:15AM) (new) - added it

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments The Dying Grass is the fifth volume of Vollmann's Seven Dreams series.

update :: Viking scheduled publication for 28 July 2015.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Optimism about The Dying Grass appearing within our life times would seem to have found itself shot in the frequently-proverbed foot. From The Millions:

"The Dying Grass by William T. Vollmann: The fifth of Vollmann’s Seven Dreams books to appear, The Dying Grass will most likely not see print until summer of 2015, according to his editor. First up is Last Stories, a collection of ghost stories slated to hit bookstores next year. Assuming there still are bookstores next year. (Garth)" http://www.themillions.com/2013/01/mo...

Which is fine to have Last Stories next year, but is it true that for a second year in a row we'll have no new Vollmann? (but too since Forbidden Zone can't count as an honest man's book, this'll be year three in which no Book of Life has come down unto us. But, lo.) But that fact would award us with many months in which to make some tracks in his other books. To the bookery!


message 3: by Brian (new) - added it

Brian | 31 comments The Ice-Shirt should arrive any day now


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Brian wrote: "The Ice-Shirt should arrive any day now"

If you don't have a background in the Icelandic Sagas, I recommend reading the introduction to The Sagas of Icelanders, which is what I had done. It may not be necessary, but it'll give a bit of background to this strange and wonderful book.


message 5: by Brian (new) - added it

Brian | 31 comments Great - thanks for the recommendation.


Geoff | 158 comments I found this curious document browsing about just now:

http://www.melleragency.com/shared/de...

The description of the novel sounds quite enticing, though there is no info on publication date, etc.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Geoff wrote: "I found this curious document browsing about just now:
http://www.melleragency.com/shared/de...
The description of the novel sounds quite enticing, though there is no info on public..."


Thanks for the link. I'm curious to see how his Dreams begin to work as they come closer to our present and become a little less "historical," less removed from the survivors who still live among us, reserved.

He already works the present into his Dreams, but the Ice-Shirt's present passages seemed a bit esoteric and the present passages from F&C were limited to the mostly museum at the beginning and a brief piece of identity and politics at the end (which reads much sharper after having read F&C than reading before the Crow text (which passage I had read prior in the Eden reader)).

I suspect it will be published on the same day as Coover's 1100 page big square thing, and Grass will probably exceed its page count.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Geoff wrote: "I found this curious document browsing about just now: http://www.melleragency.com/shared/de..."

Which reads ::

"The Dying Grass is the fifth book in William Vollmann's acclaimed Seven Dreams series - a hugely original fictional history of the clash of Native Americans and the White settlers in the New World. This volume is set during the Nez Perce War of 1877, with flashbacks to the Civil War. It follows Chief Joseph and the other non-treaty Nez Perce as they subjected the United States Army to its greatest defeat since Little Big Horn (the previous year). But to do so they had to flee from northeast Oregon and western Idaho into Montana, down into Wyoming near Yellowstone Park, and back into Montana almost to Canada. The ultimate outcome was devastating for the Native Americans Indians, and their removal one of the most tragic episodes in American history. Told frequently through dialogue spoken by various characters in powerful scenes, the book often reads as if it were a theatrical text. It is Vollmann’s most dramatic work yet."

I have The Rifles to read ververy soon and then I want The Dying Grass immediately after that.


message 9: by Alexander (last edited Mar 13, 2014 10:53PM) (new)

Alexander Weber | 113 comments The one nice thing about this not coming out till next year is it gives me a chance to catch up on the dream series, with Fathers and Crows and Argall up next.
Plus I can finish the Prostitute trilogy, and possibly read Europe Central and You Bright and Risen Angels...
[edit: I originally wrote Rising Up and Rising Down, but I meant You Bright and Risen Angels. Although, as I only read the abridged version, I guess it was still sort of true]


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Alexander wrote: " with Fathers and Crows and Argall up next.
Plus I can finish the Prostitute trilogy, and possibly read Europe Central and Rising Up and Rising Down... "


This sounds like a very promising prospect!


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments This is an essay published in The Atlantic 16 July 2014.

'Writers Can Do Anything : William T. Vollmann, author of Last Stories and Other Stories, explains why he works by an assassin's credo: "Nothing is true; all is permissible." '

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainm...

Re: The Dying Grass ::

"This Assassin’s maxim was especially useful to me as I wrote the latest of my Seven Dreams series, called The Dying Grass, about the Nez Perce War of 1877. It was a very challenging project because I decided to invent what’s essentially a new form. You don’t read this book like other books: instead, as you read from left to right, the page works like a stage. The left-hand part of the page works like the forefront of the stage, and the right edge of the paper is the backdrop. And so, there might be conversations on the left hand on the page—and what people are actually thinking might occur in the center, and perhaps landscape descriptions appear in the back, or occasionally when they really strike somebody, they appear in the front. This approach gives the page a kind of dimensionality, multiple layers of foreground and background.
"An example: In one scene, my protagonist, General Howard, and his aide-de-camp walk through a battlefield—and there are all kinds of wounded, lying there, calling for help. There’s a cacophony of voices, spread across the page. One wounded confederate solider in particular is crying for help, way on the right hand side of the page, lost among all these other voices. But gradually, this voice moves farther and father to the left—and suddenly, it’s in the same column as the main characters’ dialogue. So the reader can see right away they’re engaging with this guy."

[more relevant comments in the essay]


Jonathan (Nathandjoe) | 49 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "This is an essay published in The Atlantic 16 July 2014.

'Writers Can Do Anything : William T. Vollmann, author of Last Stories and Other Stories, explains why he works by an assassin's credo: "No..."



Oh wow. That sounds AMAZING.


message 13: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Weber | 113 comments HOLY CROW!


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Chief Joseph days begin this week ::

http://www.chiefjosephdays.org/rodeo/


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Gottdamn!


Geoff | 158 comments Reading the above description made me giddy with anticipation. Giddy!


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

From the Vollmann Seattle reading:

His publisher, Viking, put a clause in his contract that his books would be less than 700 pages, and Dying Grass was delivered at 1200. They sent it back for corrections and the new length was 1300. He says there is an oral promise to publish it sometime. He didn't give a date.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Following this whole debacle sometimes makes me think the world is engineered for maximum torment...


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Greg wrote: "His publisher, Viking, put a clause in his contract that his books would be less than 700 pages, and Dying Grass was delivered at 1200. They sent it back for corrections and the new length was 1300."

That's how!!!

But do tell, How was the reading? I hear he takes folks out for drinks afterward......


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Ashley wrote: "Following this whole debacle sometimes makes me think the world is engineered for maximum torment..."

You mean for the Living ; or for the Dead?


Geoff | 158 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "You mean for the Living ; or for the Dead?"

You've obviously been reading Last Stories...


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Geoff wrote: "Nathan "N.R." wrote: "You mean for the Living ; or for the Dead?"

You've obviously been reading Last Stories..."


These are religious duties. They cannot be put off until such time as.... because by that time the corpse may not smell as sweet.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Vollmann read two stories. He gets the prize from most casually dressed author: jeans, t-shirt, uncombed hair. Very normal guy.

He joined a group of about twenty for drinks afterwards. I was at the far end of the table most of the time so couldn't hear much - but it was pretty typical talk for people who like books. Towards the end there was talk about Cuba and I think he may be planning a visit.

He also affirmed that Viking will probably publish Dying Grass in 2015. It sounds like the book is finished and is just going through a long business process.


James | 77 comments Greg wrote: "Vollmann read two stories... He also affirmed that Viking will probably publish Dying Grass in 2015. It sounds like the book is finished and is just going through a long business process.

"


Well...That's problematic for my 2015 reading spreadsheet. Off to revise...if I move The Riflesup to 2014...


BTW- thanks for that update Nathan from the Atlantic. I agree that it does sound pretty amazing.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

NR--Where's the difference, pray tell?


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Ashley wrote: "NR--Where's the difference, pray tell?"

You mean between the living and the dead? Likely there is none outside of the question as such. Beyond that I'm depending on Vollmann to guide me.


Russell | 10 comments http://www.amazon.com/The-Dying-Grass...

not sure if everyone's seen this. We seem to have a release date!


Zadignose | 23 comments Woot!


Jonathan (Nathandjoe) | 49 comments Awesome!


message 30: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim Assuming the book hits the shelves at the end of July, I'm pencilling in TDG for a group read/discussion in Brain Pain around the beginning of September to give everyone a chance to order a copy. Normally, I have to wait a few weeks after the US release for availability over here in Europe.

Anyway, as Z said "Woot!"


Jonathan (Nathandjoe) | 49 comments I just pre-ordered it and the estimated date of delivery to me in the uk is end of August so a sept bp read would work well


message 32: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim Jonathan wrote: "I just pre-ordered it and the estimated date of delivery to me in the uk is end of August so a sept bp read would work well"

Good to know. I'm assuming you used Amazon.uk? I normally use Amazon.fr.


Jonathan (Nathandjoe) | 49 comments Yeah- uk - is fr better for any reason?


message 34: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim Jonathan wrote: "Yeah- uk - is fr better for any reason?"

No better. It's just 'cause I live here, and so no shipping charge...


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments anyone disappointed in the scant 864 pages? ; )


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Maximum stoked, although I'll be waiting for the paperback edition--I have a tactile aversion to reading a hardcover book, especially long ones. Also fingers crossed for different cover art, because the current placeholder is ass.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Josh wrote: "Also fingers crossed for different cover art"

I'm on the same page.


Zadignose | 23 comments Don't worry, you're right that it's only a placeholder. I hacked the publisher's account and accessed this final version of the cover that will go to print:




message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

I've pre-ordered.

When Vollmann spoke in Seattle, he said his publisher wanted a book at less then 700 pages, and he delivered a 1,300 page typescript: I'm assuming the traditional double space. He also said that his unique formatting left a lot of white space on the page. My guess, the publisher nixed that and went with a more condensed text.


James | 77 comments That's more like it! I have to get through the rifles next.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Greg wrote: "He also said that his unique formatting left a lot of white space on the page. My guess, the publisher nixed that and went with a more condensed text. "

I'm probably wrong. I didn't read the full description at Amazon: "...written in an original style in which the printed page works as a stage with multiple layers of foreground and background...."


James | 77 comments Ponied up and pre-ordered. 8)


Russell | 10 comments Zadignose wrote: "Don't worry, you're right that it's only a placeholder. I hacked the publisher's account and accessed this final version of the cover that will go to print

If the placeholder does end up as the final cover, I will definitely be printing this out and sticking it on my copy.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 720 comments Zadignose wrote: "Don't worry, you're right that it's only a placeholder. I hacked the publisher's account and accessed this final version of the cover that will go to print:"

"Author of How You Are".


Geoff | 158 comments This is lovely news.


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Best Monday morning in a long time. Bill is a beautiful man.


Chris Nelson (MagisterLudi) | 26 comments Really excited about this and looking forward to reading . . . all 860+ pages and endnotes! Actually, based on a recent interview in The New Republic, July 22, 2014 (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/11...) Vollmann comments (jokingly?) that his original submission was over 2,000 pages! Well, Amazon is listing the book at 864 pages. Is this a compromise, or wishful thinking on the part of Viking? We shall see. Either way, I'm happy. Have read each of the other four published volumes and love how unique and different they are from one another while maintaining a thematic continuity. This installment ought to be interesting based on what he says about dialogue and structure in the interview.

PS Please don't buy from Amazon if you can help it. Go out and support your local bookstore and buy from them. If you're in SF Bay Area, chances are there will be some readings and signings too!


Chris Nelson (MagisterLudi) | 26 comments Zadignose wrote: "Don't worry, you're right that it's only a placeholder. I hacked the publisher's account and accessed this final version of the cover that will go to print:

"


That's awesome!


Chris Nelson (MagisterLudi) | 26 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "anyone disappointed in the scant 864 pages? ; )"

I think Bill was coerced. According to one interview I read, he submitted over 2,000 pages to Viking. Compromise? Or just wishful thinking on Viking's part . . . we shall see.


Chris Nelson (MagisterLudi) | 26 comments Greg wrote: "I've pre-ordered.

When Vollmann spoke in Seattle, he said his publisher wanted a book at less then 700 pages, and he delivered a 1,300 page typescript: I'm assuming the traditional double space...."


Hope you pre-ordered from your local bookstore and not Amazon.


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