November 24, 2014 / by admin / American Literature / No Comments

The Beetle Leg (New Directions Paperback)

The Beetle Leg (New Directions Paperback)

John Hawkes

Language: English

Pages: 159

ISBN: 0811200620

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


After years of underground existence, this brilliant novel is emerging as a classic of visionary writing and still remains Hawkes's only work devoted solely to American life.

The Beetle Leg, John Hawkes's second full-length novel, was first published by New Directions in 1951. After years of underground existence, this brilliant novel is emerging as a classic of visionary writing and still remains Hawkes's only work devoted solely to American life. As a 'surrealist Western" (Newsweek), and a violent and poetic portrayal of "a landscape of sexual apathy" (Albert J. Guerard), The Beetle Leg is a rich flight into the special vein of comedy that Hawkes had begun to exploit a decade before the popular acceptance of "black humor."

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listened with his back to the train. Then louder: “But that don’t make much difference. This town’s got a law. My men would be here in fifteen minutes, if I called.” Luke heard the knocking of the horses. He smelled molasses and rubber gum, gun grease and a handful of browned leaves loose in a hot pants pocket. And suddenly he jumped onto the porch, two short steps loud on the swaydown boards. “Well, now!” The Sheriff squinted. Luke whispered in his ear. He spoke softly, using all his breath,

none to give. It wasn’t mine to take. Nor was he. I guess it ain’t just me he’s shown he’s got no feeling for. And I can’t make it up to you. Since he’s left us both.” rounding the corner of the Buckhouse—first four-sided, wooden shanty built among the tents, first building to turn a red false front and open hinged door on the dry grass and shapeless hills—Luke Lampson slowed his walk and stopped among the travelers still outside. The Buckhouse had almost been a town itself and the prows and

spangled, tinkling lantern shade, with red beads and panes of blue, still slid and turned around the single light globe, filling the quiet, summer evening air with twitching, faded streamers of color. There were twenty-two caliber bullet holes in the ceiling. “Bowl of chowder and shot of muscatel,” said Luke. He rested his foot lightly on the lead pipe rail and stared, pinching his chin in his hands, at the cans of beer pyramided before the dusty mirror behind the bar. “Bohn been around

Mexican, and the white haired linesman who had flown slowly from north to south in bird ways and built transit barracks on the plains, lifted their eyes to a woman’s golden quarters and felt, smiling or silent, their white ribs. They had sucked the saguaro in the desert and bred fungus in the bottom of their shoes. They pulled each other’s teeth with strands of unraveled hemp. Their helmets lay upturned at their sides in wait for another softening of the earth or for news of waters gathering

beyond the silent house. “That one there that lays,” he heard her, smiling at someone come to mourn, “I like her, and the one next by it I had since a child, and the one that’s blind and chokes when it crows, and that one with the comb who can’t crow, I like him too. And that other, that’s the last, she’s a good bird.” He could hear the visitor take off his hat. His mother scraped her rocking chair in the sand. And it was at such moments that, receiving a passerby, she talked as a young girl and

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