Literary Fiction

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Baskerville publishes the best literary fiction from contemporary novelists.

How I Became a Fisherman Named Pete ~ by David Spencer

A young, low-level manager for a freight-forwarding firm becomes the victim of a scheming subordinate and begins to imagine that the police are after him. He sets off to make a new life for himself with no talent, few abilities, very little money, and lots of heart.

Critical Acclaim for How I Became a Fisherman Named Pete

“Disarmingly simple, despite its hairpin twists and buried secrets: Spencer manages to convey the real wonder of discovering life for the first time.” – Kirkus Reviews, March 2003

“The lucid style and unpretentious simplicity of David Spencer’s novel is reminiscent of the great Russians, Checkhov especially.” – Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls’ Rising

“David Spencer’s How I Became a Fisherman Named Pete has such a clarity and energy and richness of character and prose that the story has an importance and presence in my mind long after I finished the book. It’s an old-fashioned narrative in the very best sense – amazing for a first novel, any novel – with an authenticity and authority of voice which lifts off the page.” – Susan Richards Shreve, author of Plum and Jaggers

How I Became a Fisherman Named Pete: A Novel by David Spencer

Literary fiction, 6×9 hardcover, 285 pages

Price: $20.99
Price: $18.90
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Fairy Tale ~ by Walt Foreman

A writer goes on a pilgrimage against his will and is guided by a has-been Elvis impersonator who has no interest in being his guide. The writer merely wishes to get back to California and the woman he loves, but is instead stranded in rural Tennessee with his guide and an alcoholic tow-truck driver who sells life insurance and brews his own beer.

The little stories in this book jump all over the place, yet it’s most accessible, and the impossible quest in it is… well, was ever a quest more heroic than our hero’s when, treed by a polar bear, he seeks his lost love by following a man in a wetsuit down a frozen river? This isn’t a book for the whole family, but it is a book in the family way: the author is writing to impress a woman named Abigail who slipped the chain. She’s the reason his tongue is hanging out, but he aggressively nuzzles the Queen of Television all the same…without stooping.

The author is also obsessed with Tristram Shandy (in a very nice way) which accounts for his book’s all-black page and its several all-white ones. His publisher, too, is breaking all the rules with this book, because in novel-writing, as in love, there has to be a first time. Black-and-white adventure!

280 pages, 6×9 hardcover


Critical Acclaim

“…charismatically witty. A work intended by God for the comfort of mankind.” – Kirkus Reviews

“With Fairy Tale, Walt Foreman has picked up where Dante thought he left off, outdone Laurence Sterne in ingenious absurdism, discovered vulgarities that never occurred to Rabelais, and harried the progress of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim all the way into the twenty-first century. Half genius, half madman, Foreman climbs the ladder of this novel to the pantheon of lovelorn literati—in four centuries no writer has pled a more passionate case to his beloved. Hilarious, ridiculous, and heartbreaking by turns, the extravaganza of Fairy Tale is something no reader can resist or forget.” – Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Soul’s Rising

Fairy Tale is brilliant because of its eccentricities and overindulgences. Part novel, part every other form it’s the most passionate account of a man writing about rejected love that I’ve read in many years. At times I wanted to say “Enough, already, Foreman; let the gal go. Nobody is worth such pain and grievance and embarrassment, except perhaps to act as the muse for you to produce a novel as beautiful and original and good as this one.” Walt Foreman succeeds where myriads of writers have failed, to go on and on with his obsession till the reader’s totally exhausted by it but is thankful he read the work because of the powerful experience accrued from it.” – Stephen Dixon, author of I

About the Author

Walt Foreman has been writing every day for the past eleven years leading up to publication: fifteen feature screenplays, ten short screenplays, six teleplays, a full-length play, three novellas, Fairy Tale, and two hundred or so short stories. He’s an English professor at three Los Angeles area colleges. He holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and an M.F.A. in Screen and Television Writing from U.S.C.

Price: $22.49
Price: $20.25
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The Fat Friend ~ by Julie Edelson

This novel tackles a subject dear to the heart of the masses and the merchandisers who cater to them: obesity; how we are shaped by our shape, and what happens when we try to reshape our too-too solid flesh in some ideal image.

What happens is not what you think; this is, after all, a book by Julie Edelson. Rigorous in its thematic development, spinning the children’s stories that reflect a heritage that has us all stewing in the same juices or melting in the same pot, Edelson bobs and weaves, nips and tucks all over the place, until her two main characters—especially Tru, the fat friend—have changed forever our thinking about what we seem, what we are, and what we ought to be. Within the confines of a caring, supportive friendship, questions about appearance and identity loom large, and their answers, at the end of the journey, are a shock to the system.

Bon appétit!

Critical Acclaim for The Fat Friend

“Rip-roaring style… a hoot to read.” – Greensboro (NC) News & Record

About the Author: Julie Edelson

Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Julie Edelson earned her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her PhD in Comparative Literature from Cornell University. She has published three novels: No News is Good News (North Point 1986), Bad Housekeeping (Baskerville 1996) and Courting Disaster (Zoland 1999). She currently is a writer, editor and researcher at Wake Forest University.

The Fat Friend: A Novel by Julie Edelson

Literary fiction, 6×9 paperback, 224 pages

Price: $14.95
Price: $13.45
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The Land Between ~ by Cathryn Hankla

Moira is about to join her husband in California (he’s a top scientist listening for signals from deep space), but before leaving her Southwest Virginia property she lets some cavers explore her land in search of the cavern that legend has placed nearby. The cavers find much more than they bargained for as they’re drawn below, while in a strange counterpoint, two thousand miles away, vaguely familiar sounds are being transmitted from deep within a hill near Moira’s California home.

Characters in The Land Between are propelled by personal quests to places where the life they knew must give way to another way of being. Yet where are they coming from and why do they feel they must go there? These questions unsettle us, but in order to grasp the answers it is not enough merely to read this book, it must be entered, as a dream.

Critical Acclaim for The Land Between

“Cathryn Hankla’s The Land Between is a resonant blend of the real and the magical, the mundane and the legendary – as intricately made and unique as a snowflake.” – Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Soul’s Rising

“…funny, moving, full of spare but sensuous language and characters and scenes that linger in the mind long after the ending, an ending which is a marvel in itself. I urge anyone who believes that literature still matters and that it can remind us why we must not lose faith in one another to read this book.” – Wayne Johnston, author of The Navigator of New York

About the Author: Cathryn Hankla

Cathryn Hankla is Professor of English at Hollins University and Poetry Editor of The Hollins Critic. She has published several volumes of poetry and fiction, including Texas School Book Depository (A finalist for the Virginia Poetry Prize), Negative History, Emerald City Blues, Poems for the Pardoned, and a previous novel, A Blue Moon in Poorwater. She has received a PEN Syndicated fiction prize, and a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts in Poetry. In researching for The Land Between, she traveled and hiked extensively in the American Southwest and Southern California. She makes her home near the real Murder Hole in the Catawba Valley of Virginia.

The Land Between: A Novel by Cathryn Hankla

Literary fiction, 260 pages, 6×9 hardcover

Price: $20.99
Price: $18.90
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The Sweet-Scented Manuscript ~ by Tito Perdue

In the mid-fifties, a young Alabaman goes north to be educated at a progressive school (modeled on Antioch College) and falls in love with a beautiful, well-regarded coed…

Yes, it’s a tender love story, and sweet, though the young Alabaman, Lee Pefley, is the same prickly character we know from The New Austerities and Lee, books that have established him as a singular figure in American literature — possibly the angriest, certainly one of the most convincing voices expressing outrage over the decadence of our times.

One need not have read the later books about Lee Pefley to enjoy the story of his life as a young man, his first job, his first love, his first experience of life away from home among people who do not share his values, do not even understand him sometimes. Confusion never reigns, however; in finding its way, love insists and is accepted, flooding these pages with wonder. The experiences in this book, the people and situations, are utterly unique, but the reader will not pull back from them for having too closely identified. The innocent exuberance in these pages is infectious, and as with all great love stories, patience is rewarded — all the more handsomely because Tito Perdue writes so evocatively of this vanished time, so wisely about differences of age, background and culture, and so movingly of feelings that are timeless.

Critical Acclaim for the Sweet-Scented Manuscript

“Tito Perdue is, without question, one of the most important contemporary Southern writers we have — and should be considered among the most important American writers of the early 21st century. This new novel of his is an absolute delight.” – Jim Knipfel, in the New York Press (titled: “Tito Perdue: America’s Lost Literary Genius”)

About the Author: Tito Perdue

Tito Perdue earned a BA from the University of Texas Austin, a MLS and MA from Indiana University. Since 1983, he has devoted his time to writing—eight novels of which three have been published: LEE (1991 Four Walls Eight Windows, NY); The New Austeries (1991, Peachtree, GA); Opportunities in Alabama Agriculture (1994, Baskerville, TX). He currently lives on his mother’s ancestral land that was homesteaded in 1822 by his great-great-grandfather, a member of General Andrew Jackson’s bodyguard.

The Sweet-Scented Manuscript: A Novel by Tito Perdue

Literary fiction, 313 pages, 6 x 9 paperback

Price: $14.95
Price: $13.45
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