Stephen Dixon’s His Wife Leaves Him is an intimate exploration of the interior life of a husband who has lost his wife.
Martin thinks about his life with his wife Gwen. Reminders of their shared past, some painful, some hilarious, others blissful and sensual, appear and reappear in the present. Stories made from memories merge with dreams of an impossible future they’ll never get to share. Story by story he recounts for himself, good and bad, moments of grace, occasions for disappointments, promises, arguments, anger, resentments, and generosity. From these moments are their lives made. In His Wife Leaves Him, Stephen Dixon has succeeded in vocalizing the process and rhythms of remembrance.
“Stephen Dixon is one of the great secret masters — too secret. I return again and again to his stories for writerly inspiration, moral support and comic relief at moments of personal misery, and, several times, in a spirit of outright plagiaristic necessity: borrowing a jumpstart from a few lines of Dixon has been a real problem-solver in my own short fiction. Please read him, you.” — Jonathan Lethem
“Dixon is one of the few writers whose new work I will put everything aside to read, which is to say he is in the company of Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, and Lydia Davis.... Put aside whatever you’re reading, and read him.” — J. Robert Lennon
“Startling candor, humor, and concern; every utterance promptly qualified; rigorous narrative economy combined with near-manic obsessiveness. Embrace Dixon and you will be held by a princely storyteller.“ — John Barth
“There is no better chronicler of our antic and anxious age than Stephen Dixon.” —Daniel Handler
“Mr. Dixon wields a stubbornly plain-spoken style; he loves all sorts of tricky narrative effects. And he loves even more the tribulations of the fantasizing mind, ticklish in their comedy, alarming in their immediacy.” — The New York Times
Stephen Dixon, one of America’s great literary treasures, has completed his first novel in five years. His Wife Leaves Him is as achingly simple as its title: A man, Martin, thinks about the loss of his wife, Gwen. In Dixon's hands, however, this straightforward premise becomes a work of such complexity that it no longer appears to be words on pages so much as life itself. Dixon, like all great writers, captures consciousness. Stories matter here, and the writer understands how people tell them and why they go on retelling them, for stories, finally, may be all that Martin has of Gwen. Reminders of their shared past, some painful, some hilarious, others blissful and sensual, appear and reappear in the present. Stories made from memories merge with dreams of an impossible future they'll never get to share. Memories and details grow fuzzy, get corrected, and then wriggle away, out of reach again. Martin holds all these stories dear. They leaven grief so that he may again experience some joy. Story by story then, he accounts for himself, good and bad, moments of grace, occasions for disappointment, promises and arguments. From these things are their lives made. In His Wife Leaves Him, Stephen Dixon has achieved nothing short of the resurrection of a life through words.
When asked to describe his latest work, the author said that "it's about a bunch of nouns: love, guilt, sickness, death, remorse, loss, family, matrimony, sex, children, parenting, aging, mistakes, incidents, minutiae, birth, music, writing, jobs, affairs, memory, remembering, reminiscences, forgetting, repression, dreams, reverie, nightmares, meeting, dating, conceiving, imagining, delaying, loving."
His Wife Leaves Him is Dixon's most important and ambitious novel, his tenderest and funniest writing to date, and the stylistic and thematic summation of his writing life.
Stephen Dixon was born in 1936 in New York City. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1958 and is a retired faculty member of Johns Hopkins University. He is also a two time National Book Award nominee — for his novels Frog and Interstate. He still hammers out his fiction on a vintage typewriter.
Listen up, lit lovers. Two-time National Book Award nominee and multiple literary prize recipient Stephen Dixon's brand new novel, His Wife Leaves Him, is due in about 2 months and we have advance copies to show off to you.
With no chapter breaks and very few paragraph breaks (not even for dialogue) to interrupt the flow of words on the page, you're getting maybe 500 pages worth of words in the space of just over 400 pages. What a value for your book-buying dollar! Of course, none of that would matter if the words didn't coalesce into such a complex, ambitious, tender, funny story of pain and joy, memory and forgetting.
Curious? We've made the first 38 pages available to read, and you can pre-order your copy, right here.
We're greatly honored to follow up two-time National Book Award nominee Stephen Dixon's amazing short story collection What Is All This? with his brand new novel, His Wife Leaves Him. Design maestro Jacob Covey has put the finishing touches on the beautifully minimalist jacket and the book is off to the printer for release this Summer. Here are some learned opinions which may sway you:
"Stephen Dixon is one of the great secret masters — too secret. I return again and again to his stories for writerly inspiration, moral support and comic relief at moments of personal misery, and, several times, in a spirit of outright plagiaristic necessity: borrowing a jumpstart from a few lines of Dixon has been a real problem-solver in my own short fiction. Please read him, you." – Jonathan Lethem
"Startling candor, humor, and concern; every utterance promptly qualified; rigorous narrative economy combined with near-manic obsessiveness. Embrace [Dixon] and you will be held by a princely storyteller." – John Barth
"There is no better chronicler of our antic and anxious age than Stephen Dixon." – Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket)
"Mr. Dixon wields a stubbornly plain-spoken style; he loves all sorts of tricky narrative effects. And he loves even more the tribulations of the fantasizing mind, ticklish in their comedy, alarming in their immediacy." – The New York Times
We have a generous 38-page excerpt you can read, and you can pre-order the book right here.
The coldest shrimp cocktail of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Alex Dueben of Comic Book Resources interviews editor Greg Sadowski about Messages in a Bottle: Comic Book Stories by B. Krigstein and about Basil Wolverton. "When I was putting together the first Krigstein books, Marie [Severin] was still actively working, so it made sense to hire her to do the coloring. Krigstein mentioned that she was his favorite colorist, so it was a decision I felt he would have approved of. I thought it would be a nice tribute to them both to encourage Marie to take her time and really give Krigstein's work the thought it deserved, and boy did she deliver," says Sadwoski.
• Plug: iFanboy writes on The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "Drawn in pop-art style, Jodelle was one of the early comic shots fired in sexual revolution of the 1960s; thoroughly modern and wholly…The story itself is still a hoot, but the essay – which places the story in its fascinating historical context – is what makes The Adventures of Jodelle a must-buy," states Josh Christie.
• Interview:Mobile Reviews asks Stephen Dixon of the novel His Wife Leaves Him why does he write. Part of Dixon's great answer, "I never answer it or even try to. It can only hurt my writing. And if I didn’t write, what would I do?"
Yesterday, Publisher Gary Groth's interview with the team from Tell Me Something I Don't Know went live on Boing Boing. Jason Lex, Jim Rugg, and Ed Piskor asked for some of Gary's Fantagraphics recommendations. Here are the quick descriptions and links to the books Gary mentioned.
Good Dog by Graham Chaffee is a beautiful black and white graphic novel that chronicles the tales of stray dog, Ivan, on his search for a home, friends and more. Ivan is a good dog - if only someone would notice. Chaffee combines illustrative gravitas with cartooning verve for a richly textured, dog's-eye view of the world. Coming this May 2013.
Wake Up, Percy Gloom is the second Percy Gloom graphic novel by Cathy Malkasian. Kindhearted Percy awakens from (what he thinks is) a 200-year nap and finds himself in a strange new land. As Percy goes on a quest to locate his mother in addition to his long-lost love and soul mate, Miss Margaret. Coming out this April 2013.
Willard Mullin's Golden Age of Baseball is a collection of the sports comics by Willard Mullin. Mullin was to baseball players what Bill Mauldin was to soldiers: advocate and critic, investing them with personality, humanity, dignity, and poignancy; Mauldin had Willie & Joe and Mullin had the Brooklyn Bum, his affectionate 1939 character representing the bedraggled figure of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Coming this April 2013.
Finally, His Wife Leaves Him by Stephen Dixon is a new book from the Fantagraphics' prose line. One of America's great literary treasures has completed his first novel in five years - a long, intimate exploration of the interior life of a husband who has lost his wife. Coming this May 2013.
This month's Diamond Previews catalog is out now and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in April 2013 (give or take — release dates are likely to have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.
(Retailers! These updates are also available in a new monthly email newsletter especially for you. If you're not already getting it and would like to sign up, contact us and we'll add you to the mailing list! And don't forget, we have a ton of digital resources which are at your disposal for your website and social networks, which you can learn more about here.)
Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse series makes the jump from black and white to vibrant color. Many of these classic Sunday strips from 1932-1935 have never before been reprinted and have been restored from Disney’s archives and enhanced with a meticulous recreation of the strips’ original color. Call of the Wild also brings you more than 30 pages of supplementary features such as rare behind-the-scenes art, vintage publicity material, and fascinating commentary by a prismatic pack of Disney scholars. This is a collection that fans have been seeking for a lifetime!
Continuing our ongoing commitment to keep the canonic Complete Crumb Comics series available, we reprint two of most often- demanded volumes. Vol. 5: “Happy Hippy Comix” spotlights the period from late-1967 through 1969, including the second issue of ZAP Comix, the introduction of Angelfood McSpade, Mr. Natural, a long Fritz story, an alternate version of the Cheap Thrills album cover, and more! Vol. 8: “Starring Fritz the Cat” covers the years 1971-1972 and features one of Crumb’s most notorious comics, “The Death of Fritz the Cat,” as well as “Whiteman Meets Bigfoot,” the complete Big Ass #2 and Mr. Natural #2, wild jams and loads of photos!
Fantagraphics proudly presents 20 years of Love And Rockets covers collated in full-color, virtually all of them without logos or cover text for maximum visual impact so the viewer can better appreciate these iconic images created by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. With over 150 classic covers, this will be a gorgeous, oversized art book and the perfect gift for fans of the series that virtually defines alternative comics.
From the author of Bottomless Belly Button comes a stunning new graphic novel set in a fantastical amusement park. New School follows a teenage boy’s search for his brother, which leads at first to wonderment and delight but ultimately to alienation and disillusionment. Unlike anything in the history of the comics medium, New School is at once funny and deadly serious, easily readable while wildly artistic, personal and political, familiar and completely new.
This one-shot comic book will feature three all-new, full-color short stories that explore var- ied dystopian societies. From a Sherlock Holmes-style investiga- tor who must complete his high school degree to filmed ‘volun- tary’ nudity to prison camps full of jaded children, Shaw pens each story with his signature style and unique spin, all in 32 pages.
Stephen Dixon’s first novel in five years is an intimate exploration of the interior life of a husband who has lost his wife. His Wife Leaves Him is Dixon’s most important and ambitious novel, featuring his tenderest and funniest writing to date, and represents the stylistic and thematic summation of his writing life.
Over 200 pages of never- before-reprinted work from Golden-Age-Of-Comics legend Bill Everett. Spanning the years 1938- 1940 and culled from such magazines as Amazing Mystery Funnies and Amazing-Man Comics, Heroic Tales features vintage characters such as Amazing-Man, Hydroman, Skyrocket Steele, The Chameleon plus many more. This is a stunning companion to Fantagraphics’ critically acclaimed 2010 Everett retrospective, Fire and Water, and features beautifully restored, full-color stories plus an introduction about the man, his art, the history of the era, and his relationship with Marvel Comics.
Assembled from work done in Anders Nilsen’s sketchbooks over the course of the year following the death of his fiancée, The End is a collection of short strips about loss, paralysis, waiting and transformation. Originally released in magazine form, The End has been updated and expanded to more than twice its origi-nal length, including a 16-page full-color section.
An anachronistic parable for the convulsive elite — now in paperback. Meticulous, strange, and hauntingly beautiful, this evocative and enigmatic book will ensure the inquisitive reader a spleenful of cerebral serenity that will take exposure to vast quantities of mediocrity to dispel.
The newest and week-old pre-SDCC stinky socks found under your bed-style Online Commentaries and Diversions minus the hullabaloo about Love and Rockets:
•Interview (video):Noah Van Sciver is interviewed by documentary film maker Dan Stafford on his upcoming book about Lincoln's depression, The Hypo, coming out this fall. "Lincoln battled things his whole life. He battled with poverty in his youth; the part that I cover, battling with depression; the struggle of his own fate followed by keeping the nation together, how we know him best."
•Interview: The Advocate and Jase Peeples takes some time to speak to No Straight Lines editor Justin Hall on comics and the LGBTQ community. Hall says, "There are interesting parallels between comics and queers; both have a hard time getting respect by the dominant culture, and both have problems understanding their own history."
•Interview (audio): On the heel's of Pride Month, Comic Book Queers interview a gaggle of people including No Straight Lines editor Justin Hall. Hall states, "We turned the project into a class. I taught at the California College for the Arts and the backbone of the class was bringing in queer cartoonists and had the students interview them."
•Commentary: On The Rumpus editor Justin Hall writes about the history of Queer Comics. You can read more in the anthology!
•Interview:The New York Times and Penelope Green cover uncoventional taxonomy in Significant Objects while interviewing editor Joshua Glenn. Glenn states, "Even if we don’t identify ourselves as collectors, we are collectors of things. And things are collectors of meaning in various ways."
•Commentary:Electric Literature covered the fun book launch of Significant Objects at the Strand on July 10th. Editor Joshua Glenn is quoted by Karina Briski: "the stories become the things of value, all on their own."
•Review:Pop Matters enjoys Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge and Mickey Mouse Vol. 3: High Noon at Inferno Gulch (edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth) with childlike wonder but still has those nagging questions. Michael Barrett: "There’s still no explanation for how some animals are “humans” while others are just animals, like how Mickey can ride a horse in the West and then come home to be greeted by his pal Horace Horsecollar."
•Review: The Tearoom of Despair takes a look at the Hate Annuals by Pete Bagge. Bob Temuka laments, "Bagge has actually done so many comics over the past decade and a half, that he is almost – shamefully – taken for granted. While new books by the likes of Clowes or Ware are almost an Event, a new mini series from Bagge might get a couple of reviews, most of which will point out that it’s more of the same."
•Commentary: Video gamesite, 1Up features some satirical video game adaptations including Pete Bagge's Hate, Ghost World by Dan Clowes and the most epic Jimmy Corrigan panel by Chris Ware.
•Review: Music magazine and site Under the Radar enjoys the writings of Stephen Dixon's What Is All This? Uncollected Stories. Hays Davis: "Stephen Dixon has a gift for revealing mundane environments as vibrant social microcosms. With that, it seems almost apropos that Dixon's flown under the radar commercially for decades, though he's always garnered respect in literary circles"
•Review: Today on the Comics Alliance, writer Matt D. Wilson covers the unique career of Michael Kupperman. The king of one-man anthologies cannot be classified, "There's no need to elaborate on how or why [Mark Twain and Albert Einstein] know each other; Kupperman wants to get straight into the laboratory ghosts and ant colony visits. Kupperman's humor doesn't rest in relationships; it's invested in concepts."
•Plug: Fantagraphics creator Michael Kupperman will be performing his own blend of comedy with geek rapper, Adam WarRock, on July 10th (for those of you not going to the Significant Objects party at The Strand). Tickets available now for the show at Littlefield in Brooklyn.
•Review: Bookstore McNally Jackson lovingly writes on about Stephen Dixon's collected stories, What Is All This?: Uncollected Stories . Dustin says,"Let us call that the first tenet of Stephen Dixon: the world can be—though we are in it, of it—ill-fitting, like pants. The world is like pants. And the pants always win."
•Commentary:The Hooded Utilitarian couldn't get enough of the Fantagraphics stylish booth at BEA. Cheryl Lynn Eaton enjoyed the seating the fact we "provided free sample books to those who had questions. Eric Reynolds even took the time to help a lapsed reader like me sort through the intricate history of Love and Rockets, which was greatly appreciated! I was highly impressed."