Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Out from the Palace Storeroom: Fae Malania's "Hazel Nut"

Today the proof pages for my friend Fae Malania's book, The Quantity of a Hazel Nut, arrived on my doorstep. The Seabury reprint looks--albeit in xerox form so far--just as elegant as the 1961 Knopf copy I own. The quest for this new book was rather long but found helpers in John Wilson and Lil Copan and other people; it's wonderful to see the reprint so close to completion.

Soon Fae's collection of lyrical spiritual essays will have a new life in its Seabury incarnation. Seabury is an imprint of Church Publishing--publishers of the "new" Book of Common Prayer. That's a curious serendipity, because the revision of the BCP was led and coordinated by Fae's late husband, Father Leo Malania.

About 11:00 I went to The Thanksgiving Home to visit Fae and take some pictures of her for the book and publicity, then stayed for a visit. I've already fired the pictures off to Cynthia Shattuck at Seabury. The pages will remain with Fae for a few days; then I'll have a read. I'm looking forward to seeing Lauren Winner's introduction. Lil Copan told me that Lauren often mentions Fae's books in her discussions. I need to check over my biographical sketch as well. I enjoyed interviewing Fae about Leo, Dimi (the autistic son from Leo's first marriage, raised by Fae), the events of her childhood, her time at Mademoiselle, her marriage, and the essays. She's a dear, thoughtful person.

After the book is launched, I want to start digging through her unpublished essays and see what's there. I have a tattered pile strapped together by an ancient rubber band, plus a fat envelope of I-don't-know-what. I know there is a long manuscript about Tolkien, plus essays in the manner of Hazel Nut.

2 comments:

  1. Marley,
    It is soooo nice to see Fae's book being re-published. I am sure that in her self effacing way she'll deflect any sense of pride, but I am sure that she is very grateful and proud to have this done. I look forward to any other gems you might find amongst her papers. I am sure that they are all well organized and thoughtfully arranged!

    Grace and Peace,
    Doug Smith

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  2. How wonderfully old-fashioned: "Doug of Hanover"! We are going to have a launch party for Fae's book in September. Maybe even two of them. So if you're planning a visit, come then...
    Anon,
    Marly

    P. S. Did you hear that we lost a lot of trees and had much damage yesterday? Including one of those ancient cherries along the walkway, hit by a tree from across the fence. We clambered around the boughs last night, and I think all the stones are intact. I'll scribble something about it later on. Right now I'm waiting for a tow--a huge branch stabbed my windshield.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.