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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WORD PAINTER, 27 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Where Nothing Sleeps: The Complete Short Stories and Other Related Works (Hardcover)
One could hardly imagine two more dissimilar writers than William Burroughs and Denton Welch, but it is a fact: Burroughs greatly admired Mr Welch, probably because he knew that the China-born British writer could evoke a whole world by simply describing a row of oranges. And that he did so with nothing stronger than good old tea.

WHERE NOTHING SLEEPS is the utimate collection of all the stories and shorter prose written by Mr Welch during the course of his rapid life (he died at thirty-three). The first volume and half of the second constitute an autobiography of sorts, albeit greatly fictionalised, while the final part of volume two collects stories that were composed as such. In both cases the peculiar style of this writer shines through, often attaining results of pristine perfection easily comparable with Katherine Mansfield and other masters of the short story. Mr Welch's eye for details and nuances even allow him to dispense with plots: most pieces here are built around feelings and striking images that can cause grat existential suspense. Try for example WHEN I WAS THIRTEEN (vol. 1) or A PARTY (vol.2), and you will soon find yourself savouring every single line of these books. Even if he started out as a painter, Mr Welch became a painter with words in the end, words that can affect your perception of reality and hit you in very secret places of your soul. His style, so detailed and compressed, also possesses an insinuating erotic quality, which is enhanced by the fact that no climax of this kind is ever reached by his characters. You will be deliciously tantalized.

Last, but not least, a word on this edition: which is limited, beautiful, expensive and has only one, rather irritating fault: there are too many typos for a book of this value, and even if they are easily correctable you cannot help wondering why loving, careful proofreading is going out of fashion. And this is ultimately why this review loses one star along the way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 1 Dec 2006
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This review is from: Where Nothing Sleeps: The Complete Short Stories and Other Related Works (Hardcover)
This edition of Denton Welch's Shorter Works is limited to 500 copies. No doubt it is expensive, but when you consider that the asking price is for two sizable hardcover volumes, perhaps you will think it worth saving up for. It is, as you would expect from the small Tartarus Press, a labour of love, comes in a slipcase, and is beautifully printed and bound.

There was a revival of intrest in Welch in the 1980's with a biopraphy by Michael de la Noy and all his books comming back into print again. This included a Penguin paperback of his shorter work. This current edition includes much of that book and a lot else besides. It includes for example, Welch's novella length account of his walking tour 'I left my grandfather's house' which was published in the 50's and again in the 80's as a seperate book.

Interest in Welch seems to have waned again but he will always have a following that will keep his name alive. Think of William Burrough's for example, who once named Welch his favourite writer (and two dissimilar writers you couldn't imagine!)

If you can afford this, get it. Its unlikely to be printed with such devotion and care ever again.
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