Monday, September 12, 2016

Book of the Day: One Foot in Eden, 1st ed., inscribed

One Foot in Eden Cover.jpg

One Foot In Eden autograph.jpg

When I was 15 years old, I read Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. I was too young to understand many of the novel’s complexities, but the narrative’s intensity, particularly Raskolnikov’s murder of the pawnbroker, was overwhelming. I had entered books before, but for the first time in my life a book had entered me. Reading Crime and Punishment remains the most intense reading experience of my life and Dostoyevsky remains one of my favorite writers. I have remained fascinated with a question posed in Crime and Punishment and also The Brothers Karamazov: What happens if a person murders someone and is not found guilty in the eyes of the law? Ultimately, Raskolnikov is caught and punished, but in The Brothers Karamazov, the Elder Zosima tells of an acquaintance who killed a friend but was not charged with the crime, yet for this man there is no escape. “Then the punishment began,” the murderer confesses to Zosima, making it clear the guilt has never ceased.

What had been a philosophical question when I read Dostoyevsky’s work became much less abstract 20 years ago. A female college student was found dead in a lake near my home. Two men had been with her the night before and were the last to see her alive. To the police and many others in the community, the men’s alibis raised doubts. In the end, no charges were filed. Perhaps because of the proximity of the murder, I began to dream that I had murdered someone years ago and was never charged. I suspected subconsciously that I was preparing to write a novel about such an event, but I could never find an entry into the story. Finally, late in 2014, an image came to me of a mound covered with leaves. This image inspired The Risen. When a heavy rain unearths human remains almost half a century old, the novel’s narrator realizes that in 1969 his older brother, a prominent surgeon, was implicit in the murder of a 17-year-old girl both brothers knew. His dilemma, whether to turn in his brother, confront his brother, or simply stay quiet, is the crux of the novel. The most perplexing question for the narrator is how his brother, who has lived a seemingly exemplary life, had dealt with his guilt. Did he, like the character in The Brothers Karamazov, find that it was only when he was sure he’d gotten away with the crime that “the punishment began”?

Henry Bemis Books is pleased to have acquired a copy of Rash’s first novel in a good, inscribed, first edition:

Ron Rash, One Foot In Eden (Novello, stated 1st ed., 2002). ISBN 0-9708972-5-1. The first novel by Rash,who has gone from critical strength to strength in the decade since. A mysterious death, long unsolved, in an Appalachian town uprooted by a coming dam project. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket; front endpaper inscription clipped out at top right corner, likely to excise previous owner’s name/address. Autographed and inscribed on the title page. Very good condition. HBB price: $35.

Henry Bemis Books is one man’s attempt to bring more diversity and quality to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg market of devoted readers starved for choices. Our website is at Henry Bemis Books is also happy to entertain reasonable offers on items in inventory; for pricing on this or others items, kindly private message us. Shipping is always free; local buyers are welcome to drop by and pick up their purchases at our location off Peachtree Road in Northwest Charlotte if they like.

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