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Double Toil and Trouble

$29.95 $22.46

A New Novel and Short Stories by
Donald Harington

Edited by Brian Walter
August 2020
176 pages, 6 x 9
978-1-68226-142-2 (cloth)
978-1-61075-727-0 (ebook)

 

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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 Featuring a long-lost suspense novel and four previously unpublished or uncollected stories, this volume adds several new chapters to the saga of Stay More, the fictional Ozarks village that serves as the setting for more than a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.

Donald Harington taught art history in New York City, New England, and South Dakota before returning to his home state to teach at the University of Arkansas for twenty-two years. The author of fifteen novels, he received the Oxford American Lifetime Award for Contributions to Southern Literature, the Robert Penn Warren Award for Fiction, and the Porter Prize for Literary Excellence.

Brian Walter is professor of English at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. He is the editor of The Guestroom Novelist: A Donald Harington Miscellany and director of the documentaries Stay More: The World of Donald Harington and Farther Along: The World of Donald Harington, Part 2.

“For those of us who continue to treasure Donald Harington and his work, there’s something tremendously moving about receiving this late addition to the Stay More chronicles—a message in a bottle from 1973. In the novel (and four stories) you’ll find here, Harington displays all the warmth, wit, goodness, and love of humanity that make his books so essential, as if he were reaching out from decades ago to remind us that the world is beautiful and we are of value to each other.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories

“The ‘sense of place’ and ‘love of illusions and irreality’ that Donald Harington recognizes as his twin gifts in a letter reproduced here are present in abundance in Double Toil and Trouble. This new collection holds riches both for those who have long appreciated Harington’s genius and for readers new to his work, whether they are aficionados of Arkansas writing and lore, fans of mystery fiction, students of publishing history, or simply appreciators of artful storytelling.”
—Linda Hughes, Texas Christian University

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Grand Schemes

Double Toil and Trouble

Stories
A Second Career
Down in the Dumps
Telling Time
The Freehand Heart

Appendix: A Deliberately Unambitious Divertissement

Notes
Sources

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