Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

Regular readers may know that I am a notorious scourer of used bookstores, always looking for the elusive treasures that can only be found in dusty shelves, unrecognized and unloved.

For years, I've been keeping my eyes out for a copy of Hawthorne Abendson's notorious and incredibly difficult-to-find 1962 novel, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. Written by an obscure Cheyenne, Wyoming, writer, this novel was banned almost everywhere on its publication, but it was quickly pirated and reprinted by a variety of fly-by-night outfits. Sold under the counter, used copies turn up occasionally, but I've never had a chance to read it--until now. The accompanying picture shows what looks to me like a late sixties edition (which I was lucky enough to spot today, prompting this post) printed and sold by "Rocky Mountain States Books," with a cover price of 95 cents.

Supposedly, the novel is a classic of science fiction, in which the outcome of World War II was pretty much the opposite of what happened in the real world, and the main characters make their way through that world in a kind of spookily revealing travelogue/narrative. The author, Abendson, always claimed that the book was actually written by the I Ching, in that every major occurrence in the book was the result of the author's consultation of that oracular text.

I'm looking forward to finally reading this book; hopefully, I will post a review here at some later date. Check in regularly.


Michael said...

Shouldn't you have waited until April 1st to post this?

Rosemary said...

That's exactly what I told him. :^)