The Build-Up : A novel by William Carlos Williams
New York : Random House, 1952. First American edition, first printing. Stated "First printing" on copyright page. Hardcover. 335 pages ; 22 cm. In very good condition with original $3.50 dust jacket, tight binding, clean pages and free of markings.
THE BUILD-UP is a success story. Its account of the triumph of an immigrant American family during the early part of the century follows a traditional pattern — with one exception. The initiative, drive and overwhelming ambition to carve a place of dignity and importance for the family stem from the female side, from Gurlie who married Joe Stecher, raised his children and guided his progress. Not that Joe, born in East Prussia, jacked the desire for success. But he was often inclined to temporize, to dwell on ideas when forthright action was needed. Then Gurlie's timely reminders forced him, in a sense, to take the realistic view. As a result, he was soon "in the money." With Joe's financial position assured, Gurlie next set her sights on the summit of local society. Her energy was phenomenal, her success complete. Life was bountiful in every way.
As the years went by and the children — two girls and a boy —grew, there were, of course, disappointments, heartaches, even tragedy to mar the Stechers' march toward comfortable old age. The awakening of their daughters to young love, and the separate paths each eventually followed, provided threads, some dark, some light, to be woven into the tapestry of the elders' lives. But Gurlie persevered until the rewards of unswerving love and devotion seemed sharply visible on the not-too-distant horizon.
In telling the story of Gurlie and Joe Stecher, of their children, of the places in which they lived and prospered, William Carlos Williams writes again with the gentle humor and unadorned simplicity that has established him as one of the great forces in contemporary literature.
Critical Comment ON THE PROSE WORKS OF WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
"Like James Joyce, Dr. Williams has his characters talk with such a native freshness that the sound is never obtrusive. It is a pure speech because it is so richly characteristic, and its utter realism is therefore deeper, more meaningful than the violent accuracy of naturalism." ALFRED KAZIN The New York Times
"Considered by many critics one of our beet contemporary poets, William Carlos Williams now, through his short stories and his novels, is acquiring similar repute in the field of prose." RUTH LECHLITNER New York Herald-Tribune
"No situation is underplayed, none overplayed. This makes for prose that is a hit unexciting, in the more obvious sense of the word, but it is prose that counts for more." CLIFTON FADIMAN The New Yorker
"As good as anything written by Joyce in Dubliners" GORHAM MUNSON Hartford Times
"A talent that has long been one of the finest our writing affords." N. L. ROTHMAN Saturday Review of Literature
"Nothing will describe the honesty and pure perception of these tales. Dr. Williams' book must be read." San Francisco Chronicle
"There is truth and beauty in the sparseness of Williams' expression. His style suits his subjects.. .. There is no air of decadence in his work; it is honest and shows a belief in human nature, and in these times that means one thing — growth." New York Sun
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