FACE







Available from Wings Press, San Antonio. ISBN 0-930324-90-0
FACE, Viking, New York, 1984, 194 pages, (out of print).
Contemporary American Fiction series, Penguin, New York, 1985
(out of print).

"When I read Face in 1985, it struck me as an extraordinary achievement, all the more extraordinary for being a first novel. Rereading it has not changed my estimate....Face continues to haunt me."
-- From the foreword by J.M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize, 2003.


"The author reveals the immense power of human will and obsession; an original, complex portrait of survival."
Cathy Colman, New York Times, April 28, 1985

From Face:

HE IS wandering the street outside. It is dark, no moon, only the kerosene lights glow red in the doorways. The windows are shut tight against the night air. Something is different, uncanny. No trace now of cobblestones, only the lightness of this feeling, his feet barely touching, effortless, like riding a bus, or flying, skimming over the surface quickly, like a dragonfly over water, yes, and feeling what? Some kind of freedom. And then panic. Touching. Touching to make sure. Why isn't the handkerchief there? Why is his face exposed? Someone has died. And sharp, with that knowing, row upon row of dimly powered lamps swing naked from wires overhead, bright streets (dark only a moment ago) fill with walkers, all solemn, hatted, in a ceremony closed to him, all with handkerchiefs over their faces. And the signs painted red over the doorways: "Moved," Closed," "For Sale," "Deceased."

He was about to enter the picture show, a room plush, velvety; wine-dark like the soul, and there to take his seat. He was supposed to be there. He had been called. Something there, a welling cloud, a balloon of blue air, now bulging, now concave: eyes, brows, cheekbones, a vast blue Madonna with sad eyes, pulsating, breathing mercy at him, her sad smile, blue lips, skin now pulsing, throbbing with light, each cell opening like a pore, and in each pore, each cell, a face, hundreds of faces, each throbbing, pulsing with its own light."

Cecile Pineda reads from Face at the San Francisco Public Library, February, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn9Wxn_qcww

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