Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Book Party for Fae Malania, October 2nd

Fae Malania is one of my very favorite old ladies in the Village of Templeton. In 1961 she published a collection of spiritual essays with Knopf--a prestigious publisher then and now. This month the book is being resurrected in an elegant small paperback with an introduction by Lauren Winner and a biographical essay (that's by me.) The text has been slightly revised, with a new order given to the pieces, but it's interesting to see how well they have stood the test of years.

These are beautiful, lyrical essays, with an interesting sensibility behind them. The history of their re-publication is astonishing, if you know anything about how very difficult it is to get a reprint on a book that has been out of circulation for almost fifty years. Over a year ago, the book was submitted to three publishers, was highly praised by all three and received offers from two. That's a score any writer would find quite acceptable. John Wilson (Books & Culture) and Lil Copan (Paraclete Press) helped us along the reprint path, and now the book is being launched by Seabury Books, an imprint of Church Publishing. One curious bit of rightness about the choice of publisher is that Fae's husband, Leo Malania, was instrumental in organizing and overseeing the revision of The Book of Common Prayer, published by Church.


"Fae Malania's lovely book is a small offering, like a hazelnut. Like the hazelnut, this book is a reminder of God's love. And like a hazelnut, it can unlock a world."
--Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath

"The resurrection of a good book is always cause for celebration. 'The Quantity of a Hazelnut' is a very good book indeed, neither extremely loud nor incredibly close but quietly unforgettable.
--John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture

"With beautiful language and a winning confessional style, Malania offers a spiritual vision that is steeped in traditional Catholicism while open to truth in diverse places."
--Jana Reiss, author of What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide
ISBN: 1-59627-014-4


About the title of the book:

I had an awful dream once, it was a terrible dream, terrible things happened in it. There wasn't any future in my dream. It was all gone, lost, irretrievable; and by my fault, by my own fault.
At the deepest point of my despair, in the twinkling of an eye--though nothing was changed--everything was changed. I was holding--something--in the curve of my palm. Its weight was good to the hand, it was very solid, round. It might have been an apple, or a globe. It was all that mattered, and in it was everything. Even in my sleep, I think I cried for joy.

A long time later in the "Revelations" of Dame Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-century English anchoress, I met my dream again, and I knew it at once.

"In this," she says (this vision or, as she always calls it, shewing)--"In this He shewed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, and to my understanding it was as round as any ball. I looked thereupon and thought: 'What may this be?' And I was answered in a general way, thus: 'It is all that is made.' I marvelled how it could last, for methought it might fall suddenly to naught for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: 'It lasts and ever shall last because God loves it, and so hath all-thing its being through the love of God."
--Fae Malania, The Quantity of a Hazelnut


On October 2nd at 11:30, we will have a launch party in the Parish Hall of Christ Church. If you would like to reserve a copy or copies of Fae's book (they are a mere $14.00!) with signature, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Update: Less than a day after a post and a few emails, I'm looking at a list of 26 reserved copies, including requests from poets Jeffrey Beam and Rosanne Coggeshall... And I'm wondering why I never have parties for my own books!

Update again: Reserved 48 in less than a week... a good start.

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