“Jane Wodening’s stories [in this book] are sad and grotesque and powerful. Kurosawa said, ‘To be an artist means never having to avert one’s eyes.’ Jane Wodening doesn’t blink.”
– From the Preface by Lucia Berlin
“Poets ‘Sing of human unsuccess / in a rapture of distress.’ – W.H. Auden. The ‘unsuccess’ of Jane Wodening’s characters is not always human. The marvelous world of the Book of Gargoyles, like the marvelous world we normally live in but don’t pay much attention to, has room for a stoic beetle and for swimming chickens. Coyotes listen to dying prey and white cats solemnly observe burials.
“But most of this rapture is human and it is indeed sung. These stories are not so much narrated as voiced. Artists, cowboys, mothers, landladies, even perhaps the author–all tell their stories, each in his own impeccably individualized words and rhythms. It is the songs that move us. Often, the point is the telling, itself, the circling re-circling of word and rhythm that adds to a layer for truth that went before, or strips it bare… These characters still commonly explain their lives in language more apt than they know, in words that resonate beyond their world.
A writer in the book asks, ‘If it can’t be put into words, did anything happen?’ A great deal happens in the Book of Gargoyles. Jane Wodening has the words.”
– Phil Rowe
By Jane Wodening
Preface by: Lucia Berlin
Paperback: 89 pages
Publisher: Baksun/Grackle Books of Colorado