Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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the most neglected book

Joyce Carol Oates: James McConkey's book Crossroads

I’ve been thinking very seriously about your request. Perhaps too seriously: for I hesitated to indicate that any particular book was the most neglected book of the last twenty-five years. Could you state instead, in regard to my selection (James McConkey’s Crossroads) that I consider it a somewhat neglected book, one which should reach a wider audience than it has? Not, I believe, that it has been totally neglected, because it hasn’t; and, also, that might be quite insulting to Mr. McConkey. I think more attention should be paid to the book not only for its contents, which are fascinating, but for its adventuresome form—an ‘autobiographical novel.’ (It was published in 1968 by Dutton).

McConkey, who has contributed several major essays to the Scholar, is still celebrated for his essays and stories, which draw from his own life, and the book To a Distant Island (2000), which recreates Chekhov’s 6,500-mile journey across Russia to the penal colony on the island of Sakhalin. Crossroads has since been collected—along with three other books—into an anthology, The Complete Court of Memory (2014).

review Crossroads

American Scholar - Neglected Books Revisited Part 2

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