San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2009. Large octavo, page size 9-7/8 by 6-1/2 inches, and consists of 164 pages. The type is Janson, composed and cast in Monotype, 12 point with 11 point capitals, with Caslon figures, for the text, and Univers for display. The paper is grey Basingwerk. The printing of the text is by letterpress. The photographs are printed by offset photo-lithography on white dull-coat stock, trimmed to bleed, and are tipped onto the pages by hand. The binding is full blue cloth, Iris Wisteria, with a titling band of Japanese Yatsuo handmade mustard-colored paper running diagonally across the cover. The endpapers are grey mouldmade Italian Tiziano. The edition of the book is limited to 300 numbered copies for sale. New. Item #CNAP084
"The Nachman Stories" brings together for the first time in a single volume Leonard Michaels' stories focused on the Los Angeles mathematician Raphael Nachman as their hero. Written at the end of the author's life, between 1997 and 2003, the Nachman series is praised as the capstone to the career of a master of the American short story. As Robert Pinsky writes in his preface, it is "the final, remarkable accomplishment of a great stylist turning his gift in a new direction". The poet Robert Hass calls Michaels: "one of the most widely admired prose stylists of his generation, with an uncanny ear for sentence rhythm. A fabulist and miniaturist, admirer of Franz Kafka and Isaac Babel, he was often associated during his lifetime with the American Jewish writers Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, and Philip Roth."
The Arion Press is proud to present the Nachman stories as their author had intended: as a book. In the Arion edition, eight stories can be read in sequence as a novella illuminating the moral life of Raphael Nachman. Beginning with the first story Michaels wrote, "Nachman", they follow the character from the semi-mythic Cracow of his grandparents to the mundane Los Angeles of his own life as a bachelor academic. A progression of comic misadventures and ethical triumphs, the stories mark their hero's passage from anxious youth to less anxious middle age, when as a successful mathematician, he is still confounded by the everyday Los Angeles of airports, hair salons, and pretentious restaurants.
One story,"Nachman and Meg", is published for the first time here. The others were issued over a period of six years in "The New Yorker", "Partisan Review", and "The Threepenny Review", with the final story, "Cryptology", appearing in "The New Yorker" a few weeks after Leonard Michaels died of cancer at age seventy.
The book contains nine photographic portraits of the author that appear as the frontispiece facing the title page and on the half-title pages preceding each of the eight stories. The photographs of Leonard Michaels were taken over the course of his career as a writer, between 1962 and 1995, and are arranged in chronological order, with the exception of the frontispiece, which is from 1978.
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