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Warlock (New York Review Books Classics) by…

Warlock (New York Review Books Classics) (original 1958; edition 2005)

by Oakley Hall, Robert Stone (Introduction)

Series: Legends West (1)

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6051527,399 (4.19)21
Oakley Hall's legendary Warlock revisits and reworks the traditional conventions of the Western to present a raw, funny, hypnotic, ultimately devastating picture of American unreality. First published in the 1950s, at the height of the McCarthy era, Warlock is not only one of the most original and entertaining of modern American novels but a lasting contribution to American fiction. "Tombstone, Arizona, during the 1880's is, in ways, our national Camelot: a never-never land where American virtues are embodied in the Earps, and the opposite evils in the Clanton gang; where the confrontation at the OK Corral takes on some of the dry purity of the Arthurian joust. Oakley Hall, in his very fine novel Warlock has restored to the myth of Tombstone its full, mortal, blooded humanity. Wyatt Earp is transmogrified into a gunfighter named Blaisdell who . . . is summoned to the embattled town of Warlock by a committee of nervous citizens expressly to be a hero, but finds that he cannot, at last, live up to his image; that there is a flaw not only in him, but also, we feel, in the entire set of assumptions that have allowed the image to exist. . . . Before the agonized epic of Warlock is over with--the rebellion of the proto-Wobblies working in the mines, the struggling for political control of the area, the gunfighting, mob violence, the personal crises of those in power--the collective awareness that is Warlock must face its own inescapable Horror: that what is called society, with its law and order, is as frail, as precarious, as flesh and can be snuffed out and assimilated back into the desert as easily as a corpse can. It is the deep sensitivity to abysses that makes Warlock one of our best American novels. For we are a nation that can, many of us, toss with all aplomb our candy wrapper into the Grand Canyon itself, snap a color shot and drive away; and we need voices like Oakley Hall's to remind us how far that piece of paper, still fluttering brightly behind us, has to fall." --Thomas Pynchon… (more)
Title:Warlock (New York Review Books Classics)
Authors:Oakley Hall
Other authors:Robert Stone (Introduction)
Info:NYRB Classics (2005), Paperback, 488 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Lit, NYRB

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Warlock by Oakley Hall (1958)



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» See also 21 mentions

English (14)  Spanish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
The best Western I've ever read. ( )
  Jetztzeit | May 15, 2020 |
Fantastic existential western. Deadwood without the Shakespearean vernacular, but certainly a novel read by Milch. So good. ( )
  nushustu | Aug 5, 2019 |
This reads like an existential western, with real character development and angst abounding, but with no lack of dramatic showdowns. The film starring Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn is okay, but removes the entire subplot regarding the miners (the economy of Warlock is based on their livelihoods). Now to track down the second of Hall's trilogy: The Bad Lands. ( )
  nog | Nov 30, 2018 |
I was going to knock the rating down on this book one notch because...well, because the writing style didn't tantalize me like, say, Daniel Woodrell's. But that would be unfair, since I feel stupid, really stupid that I didn't know about this book earlier and hadn't read it and maybe reread it a long time ago. (Besides, the word styling is just fine.) I've thought about whether I'm so impressed by this book because I expected so much less. It's "just" a Western after all. And early on, the reader is introduced to a number of well-trodden Western themes and issues to resolve, which has you wondering if this isn't just Western drama smorgasbord style. What sets this off from the multitudes -- beyond the fact that it tackles multiple Western themes -- is that (1) it weaves these many factors together in an intricate (yet not complicated) whole that fits tightly together, and (2) it uses all distinct, credible characters to do so. No dramatic conflict or resolution just pops out of the authors pen on a whim. I read the last several pages dreading that the book was going to end, but even the ending satisfied me. Even if you're not a Louis L'Amour or Zane Grey fan, read this. ( )
  larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |
If you find yourself missing Deadwood, and you don't think its crassness is its main draw, this is the next best thing. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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Deputy Canning had been Warlock's hope.
The pursuit of truth, not of facts, is the business of fiction.
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