Humors of Blood and Skin: A John Hawkes Reader[1]—the author’s thirteenth straight book from New Directions—contains just about what you'd expect: four short stories, excerpts from all nine novels, a fragment of a novel-in-progress, brief autobiographical prefaces to each of the selections. A fair enough overview. But the book’s primary purpose, one senses, is not so much to pro vide the reading public with snippets from twenty-year-old novels as it is simply to exist, and by existing to get us all a little bit more used to the idea that John Hawkes is an important writer, a modern classic, an Author for the Ages. Indeed, William Gass’s introduction stops just short of proclaiming Hawkes’s divinity—and the man even signs himself “William H. Gass, Washington University, St....


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