Double Toil and Trouble is the first new volume of fiction in more than a decade by beloved Arkansas writer Donald Harington (1935–2009). Featuring a long-lost suspense novel and four previously unpublished or uncollected stories, this volume adds several new chapters to the saga of Stay More, the fictional Ozarks village that serves as the setting for more than a dozen other Harington novels.
Beginning with Hock Tuttle’s journey across the mountains to transport a well-dressed city woman and a pair of mysterious coffins to Stay More, Double Toil and Trouble treats the reader to a series of vintage Harington scenarios. In “A Second Career,” a young preacher fancies himself a fiction writer but finds that the women in his life are not necessarily eager to play the muse. In “Down in the Dumps,” an increasingly disillusioned attorney seeks answers but finds far more than he bargained for in the local dump. In “Telling Time,” a long-departed son of Stay More draws artful portraits of the town’s rival Depression-era storytellers, spinning a clever yarn about the enduring power of yarn spinners. And “The Freehand Heart,” a winsome story of young love, comes surprisingly full circle with the revelations sparked by a lovers’ heart carved into the woods of Stay More.
Edited by longtime Harington scholar Brian Walter, Double Toil and Trouble also includes an appendix featuring the author’s spirited correspondence with the editor who originally inspired the title novel, providing an insider’s look at the American literary scene and Harington’s own early assessment of his work. Spanning several decades of the author’s career, this volume gives readers a Harington who is at once familiar and fresh as he experiments with new formal possibilities, only to once again endear the vagaries of love, life, and folk language to us.