"...walked out of her apartment with just thirty dollars when she was twenty-five years old. She was never seen again."
February 19, 2012 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Farksolia: The nephew of Barbara Follett, the child-prodigy novelist who mysteriously disappeared in 1939, has created a Web site for his aunt’s life and works. [Previously]

"Welcome to Farksolia. I'm Stefan, and Barbara Follett was my aunt. I'm trawling through my extensive family archives and sharing Barbara's words and fascinating story on this site. The more I learn about Barbara, the more enchanted and intrigued I am. I dearly wish I could have met her, but in 1939 she disappeared from her Brookline, Massachusetts, apartment—23 years before I was born.
posted by Fizz (13 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Great story!
I'm curious how Nick answered to investigators questioning...
posted by foxhat10 at 9:05 AM on February 19, 2012

I actually had to go back and read the previously linked Metafilter story to get a better understanding of the entire history behind her life. It's amazing. I wish her works were easily accessible but finding a copy of her book is proving difficult.

If anyone can find a hard copy or even better an e-book of her works, it'd be appreciated.
posted by Fizz at 9:57 AM on February 19, 2012

The New York Public Library has none circulating, but does have 5 works for in-library use.

Books for sale seem to be at least $200 and more often over $500.
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:27 AM on February 19, 2012

Damn. I guess I can understand the high prices with the history and mystery behind her disappearance. But damn. I would love to read her novels.
posted by Fizz at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2012

I managed to score a copy of _The House Without Windows_ from the University of Washington library last week, and I finished it about a day ago. The novel is broken into three parts: (1) the Meadow; (2) The Sea; and (3) The Mountains. For me, The Meadow was extremely hard to read-- it's this repetitive, claustrophobic, and emotionally truncated Mary Sue tale full of loyal, fuzzy animals and pretty daisy-crowns. I was, quite frankly, thinking about returning the book unfinished -- but then I got to The Sea and the thing just cracked open. It's still very obviously a book by a terribly young author, but you start to get really compelling depictions of dread, and indecision, and longing, and the nature stuff gets a bit redder in tooth and claw. And The Mountains is even better.

The whole thing, including the afterword, is only about 160-some pages, which translates to 80-some photocopied pages, which translates to something for me to do at Kinko's later today, maybe. Watch this space.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:00 AM on February 19, 2012 [8 favorites]

I'm impressed with her work, what I can see of it. Compare and contrast with Opal Whitely, who apparently created similar work as a child - except that there are serious doubts over the veracity of Opal's story (doubts that I share from reading on her before).

Follett seems on the other hand to have genuinely written this stuff at an early age... I particularly love her artificial language and hope to use it in a song....

> I would love to read her novels.

Barbara Follett disappeared in 1939.

People are usually declared legally dead 7 years after they have vanished.

The term on book copyrights is 75 years after the death of the author.

1939 + 7 + 75 = 2012 - so all her work should be in the public domain already.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:06 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

palmcorder_yajna: hehe, do it!

You can probably upload it without fear of consequence - see my note above.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:07 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're interested in child prodigy novelists--or if you're interested in achingly beautiful novels--I highly recommend Stephen Milhauser's first book, Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954, by Jeffrey Cartwright.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:30 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I find heartbreaking how utterly Barbara's father abandoned her family, and how little social or professional rebuff he suffered from doing so.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:52 AM on February 19, 2012

The site has been very recently updated.

I sent the website owner a message telling him about this thread - perhaps we can get him to look in!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:01 PM on February 19, 2012

palmcorder_yajna, if you mail me a hard copy I'll set it up as an ebook and send it to Stefan so he can decide whether he wants to add it to the site as a download or for purchase.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:04 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I got email from the site owner. Apparently the copyright was renewed in the 50s and the material won't enter the public domain until about 2025 - and he, the site owner, doesn't know who owns the copyright.

A shame but it'd be great if some interest allowed the material to be republished.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:43 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I came across the House Without Windows at a garage sale years ago, with no idea about the mystery of the author's disappearance. I probably wasn't much older than the author when I read it, and even as weak as some parts may seem now, I still re-read it every few years for that sense of escape.
posted by korej at 3:44 PM on February 19, 2012

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