Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, Barbara Comyns

Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead

Barbara Comyns

Publisher: Dorothy, a publishing project
PubDate: 11/1/2010
ISBN: 9780984469314
Price: $16.00
Quantity Available: 31
Pages: 216
SKU #: R01C

Fiction. This is the story of the Willoweed family and the English village in which they live. It begins mid-flood, ducks swimming in the drawing-room windows, "quacking their approval" as they sail around the room. "What about my rose beds?" demands Grandmother Willoweed. Her son shouts down her ear-trumpet that the garden is submerged, dead animals everywhere, she will be lucky to get a bunch. Then the miller drowns himself...then the butcher slits his throat...and a series of gruesome deaths plagues the villagers. The newspaper asks, "Who will be smitten by this fatal madness next?" Through it all, Comyns' unique voice weaves a text as wonderful as it is horrible, as beautiful as it is cruel. Originally published in England in 1954, this "overlooked small masterpiece" is a twisted, tragicomic gem.

"Comyns is one of those writers you can barely believe ever goes out of print. Her books are so funny, so exact, so twisted, you imagine their appeal would last for generations. Luckily for us, WHO WAS CHANGED AND WHO WAS DEAD, originally published in 1954, has been rescued by the new publishing project Dorothy."—Jessa Crispin

"The strange off-beat talent of Miss Comyns and that innocent eye which observes with childlike simplicity the most fantastic or the most ominous occurrence."—Graham Greene

"[Comyns] stands with one foot in the plain-spoken world of early 20th-century England, and another in a realm of cracked-mirror fairy tales."—David Auerbach

Author City: Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire UNK

Reviews and Other Links
Lorin Stein @ The Paris Review
Matt Bell @ PEN
Brian Evenson @ The Rumpus
David Auerbach @ The Quarterly Conversation
Matt Dube @ The Collagist
Tobias Carroll @ Vol. 1 Brooklyn
John Self @ Asylum
Jessa Crispin @ Need to Know on PBS
Anna Leahy @ The Huffington Post

“Comyns approaches the world as if everything is worthy of clear-eyed attention. In this novel in particular, she is better than any other writer I know at striking an impossible balance between accuracy, wonder, and disgust. She creates a paradoxical sense of a world that might want to embrace you lovingly—unless instead it wants to smother you.... Comyns’ dark pastoral is an overlooked small masterpiece, and one that has opened pathways that other writers have yet to pursue.”
—Brian Evenson, from the Introduction

“The strange off-beat talent of Miss Comyns and that innocent eye which observes with childlike simplicity the most fantastic or the most ominous occurrence.”
—Graham Greene

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